Pedestrians Walking Along Train Tracks Common in Downtown Brighton
Neighbors say pedestrians walking along railroad tracks is common in the area of the recent Fenton train accident where teen was killed.
Walking the railroad tracks is common where a teenager was struck and killed by a train in Fenton Monday night, neighbors say.
Police said 17-year-old Audrey Seigle was walking on the tracks when an eastbound train struck and killed her. The incident happened around 7 p.m. on the tracks west of Silver Lake Road and the US 23 overpass.
Brighton resident Renee Pettengill said walking on the railroad tracks is a common sight in Brighton as well.
"We live very close to the tracks Downtown and we see it a lot," Pettengill commented on Brighton Patch's Facebook page.
Michigan law prohibits walking, riding, driving or being present on the right-of-way of a railroad or a railroad yard. The law lists a number of exceptions, such as legitimate passengers, railroad employees and authorized representatives of the railroad. A violation of this section is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or both.
Trespassing along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related fatalities in America and about 500 trespassing railroad deaths occur each year nationally, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Brighton Fire Chief Mike O'Brian said the Brighton Area Fire Authority actively works to push people away from the railroad tracks in downtown Brighton during events like the recent Independence Day Parade on July 4.
"From our standpoint, it's not something you ever want to see," O'Brian said about people walking along the tracks. "I know in movies like Stand by Me, the kids walk along the railroad tracks for miles and miles, but it's really not a good idea. That train doesn't stop. It takes a half a mile or more to stop a train."
The Department of Transportation has also released these key tips regarding railroad safety.
- Always expect a train! This is especially critical where there are multiple tracks and the sound of one train can mask the sound of a second train on the other set of tracks.
- Cross the tracks only at approved crossings. Crossing tracks at any other location is illegal and puts you at risk of tripping on rails or slipping on icy ballast. There is no margin for error if a train is approaching.
- Don’t try to beat a train at a crossing. It’s almost impossible to accurately judge the distance and speed of an oncoming train.
- Don’t stand close to the tracks. A train is at least three feet wider than the tracks on each side. In addition, a fast moving train may kick up or drop debris.
- Don’t ever walk along tracks on bridges or in tunnels. You may not hear an approaching train and since clearances in bridges and tunnels can be tight, you may not be able to escape an approaching train.
- Don’t attempt to jump or climb on, over, under, or in between rail equipment. Even an idle freight car can be dangerous.