The City of North Richland Hills reminds residents to always remain alert and cautious around railroad crossings and tracks.
Tragically, a person or vehicle is hit by a train about once every three hours in the U.S., according to Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a national educational organization dedicated to rail-safety awareness. Parents, please talk to your children about rail crossing safety and teach them to never drive, bike or walk around lowered crossing gates or to trespass on railroad tracks. The following will help keep you and your family safe.
- Whether you are walking, cycling or driving, the only safe place to cross railroad tracks is at a designated public crossing where there are flashing red lights or a gate. It is not safe to cross at any other place.
- Never race a train to the crossing. The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
- At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
- Never drive, bike or walk around lowered gates — it's illegal and can be deadly.
- While our hike and bike trails are a safe place to walk, ride and play, the adjacent railroad tracks are private property and should never be used for recreational activity. Always stay on designated, paved walking and bicycling trails. Never walk along the tracks, take a shortcut across the tracks, or climb through or under a railcar. For your safety, it is illegal to be there and trespassers can be ticketed and fined.
- Remember the train is wider than the tracks on both sides. It isn't safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail. Proceed through a crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping.
- If your vehicle ever stalls on the tracks, get out and get away from the tracks, even if you do not see a train. Locate and call the emergency number posted at the crossing. This number goes directly to railroad dispatchers who can immediately notify any oncoming trains to stop. If a train is approaching, run toward the train but away from the tracks at a 45 degree angle. If you run in the same direction a train is traveling, you could be injured by flying debris.
- An approaching train is always closer and moving faster than you think. A train can take more than a mile to stop, even when emergency brakes are applied. That’s the distance of 18 football fields.
- Today's trains are quieter than ever, producing no telltale "clackety-clack." Headphones or earbuds can be a deadly distraction near the tracks - preventing you from hearing an approaching train.
- If you see a crossing gate not working properly or a railroad emergency, call the emergency number posted at the crossing. This number goes directly to railroad dispatchers who can immediately notify oncoming train operators and other railroad personnel of the situation.
- Be aware trains do not always follow set schedules. Any time is train time. Whenever you see tracks, always think train.
You can find additional safety information at www.seetracksthinktrain.org. Learn more about the TEXRail commuter rail service that serves North Richland Hills at https://ridetrinitymetro.org/texrail/.