Union Pacific Builds Sand Fence to Address Safety Issues in Glamis Area
Residents Urged to Ride the Sand and not the Rails
Roseville, Calif., December 17, 2008 Sand and Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) may go hand in hand; however, those same recreational vehicles mixed with railroad tracks can be an equation for disaster. Every year, more than 1,800 people in the United States are killed or injured on or near railroad tracks. The recent fatalities in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area are a sad reminder that tracks are for trains not people.
"As sand enthusiasts are heading outdoors, we want to remind them that walking or driving on or near railroad tracks is extremely dangerous because you never know when a train will come along," said Dennis Jenson, Union Pacific assistant vice president - chief of police.
"It can take a mile or more to stop a train and by the time a locomotive engineer sees you on the track, it would be too late," said Dale Bray, Union Pacific director - public safety.
"Locomotives and rail cars overhang the tracks by at least three feet on either side of the rail and loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are next to the tracks, you can be hit by the locomotive, a rail car or anything that may be hanging loose from the car," Bray said.
Another safety issue is excessive sand being deposited on the tracks. This has led Union Pacific to build a sand fence on its property.
"Although sand doesn't seem like it should be a big issue, in recent years we have noticed that sand has caused increased track degradation, which can lead to an unstable track," said David Wickersham, Union Pacific chief engineer - Western Region.
Union Pacific has worked closely with the Bureau of Land Management to make sure that access is not severely impacted for enthusiasts. Also, special attention has been taken to protect the local wildlife. The fence will leave natural gaps for the Desert Tortoise to migrate naturally throughout its habitat.
In an effort to educate the public about pedestrian and grade crossing safety, Union Pacific works closely with Operation Lifesaver.
Operation Lifesaver is a national, nonprofit education and awareness program dedicated to ending tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad tracks. To accomplish its mission, Operation Lifesaver promotes education, enforcement and engineering. More information about Operation Lifesaver can be found at www.oli.org.
Do not become a railroad statistic; stay away from railroad tracks.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.
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