Amtrak teams up with local law enforcement for railway safety

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:34 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Amtrak is set to restart passenger service along the Gulf Coast next year. Officials are taking this time to urge people to pay attention to the warnings around the tracks.

“These are going to be fairly short trains when we’re running them,” said Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari. “It’ll take us 25 to 30 seconds to get across a crossing. Your life is worth 25 to 30 seconds.”

Earlier this year we saw several train vs car incidents across the area. Three of which involved Amtrak trains while they were doing test runs between here and New Orleans including this fatal accident a Navco Road near Dog River Drive. Officials want to make sure these incidents don’t happen again.

“Please always expect a train and don’t forget trains actually have the right of way and your life is worth the wait,” said Nancy Hudson with Operation Lifesaver.

Operation Lifesaver and Amtrak are teaming up with local law enforcement for Operation Clear Track. Officers from Mobile PD, ALEA, and Amtrak Police were stationed at different railroad crossings between Mobile and Pascagoula to pass out information and if need be, issue drivers a citation or a warning if they go around the stop arms.

“That is where we’re seeing a bunch of our incidents occur is as a result of people wanting to go around the stop sticks, they’re there for a reason,” said Senior Trooper Anna Peoples. “Our locals are used to the CSX trains moving through here at 30-35 mph. These Amtrak trains can reach speeds up to 79.”

It’s something law enforcement and Operation Lifesaver take very seriously, and they want to get the message out to both drivers and pedestrians.

“We’re the ones at the end of the day that have to call the families,” said Peoples. “People think an accident happens in one day, but it affects our lives just like yours.”

“Another major problem is people walking up and down the tracks, using the tracks as a shortcut. You don’t want to get hit by a train so please stay off, stay away,” said Hudson.