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Take care on the tracks

As warm weather arrives on more or less a regular basis until fall, we turn our attention to the easy days of being outdoors.

School will soon be out for the summer and while children going outside more, walking more and playing more are all good things that should be encouraged, there are basics to safety for children and adults.

We want to remind our readers to stay safe around railroad tracks.

We’ve seen it many times: someone, for some reason, chooses to walk or play on or around the railroad tracks near downtown Marion or in other areas of Grant County.

Most of the time, nothing happens. Many people simply think they can hear a train and get out of the way in time. Others don’t think about the negative consequences of walking on railroad tracks. But there are many stories of people who trespassed on railroad property and ended up dead or gravely injured as a result.

Why take the chance? What is there to gain by taking a gamble on one’s life?

The average locomotive weighs more than 400,000 pounds, and some can weigh as much as 1.2 million pounds, according to Operation Lifesaver. That’s just the locomotive. That doesn’t include the cars attached to it. We won’t get too deep into the physics of something that heavy moving at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, but we’ll tell you that you won’t come out of an accident unscathed.

Something that heavy can’t stop on a dime: It takes more than a mile for a train traveling 55 miles per hour to come to a complete stop. Trains cannot stop quickly enough to avoid hitting a person, or a car for that matter, on the tracks.

Just stay away. Cross railroad tracks only at designated spots, obey any warning lights and cross arms, and never trespass on railroad property. Whatever reason there may be for walking on railroad tracks just isn’t worth your life.