Train operators warn about the dangers of being around railroad tracks

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- You see those movies with people walking the train tracks, and even in pictures, taking senior portraits near a railroad. All those people are not only trespassing, but putting themselves in danger.

At the crossing gate, you can hear the train coming from the 2,500 feet mark before you actually see it. Then it crawls away and continues in a quiet sprint.

To ensure a smooth ride, Robert McCarl and his team are constantly scanning the horizon.

McCarl is the conductor; his job is to make it from point A to point B as safely as possible. But sometimes that’s beyond his control.

“Cars going in front of us with the gates down, this is one of the worst areas,” he said.

Sometimes he catchers the trespassers before anything bad can happen. Often they are “homeless people, kids playing,” he added.

All those accidents and fatalities can be prevented. It might sound simple -- don’t walk on or near the tracks. Just Monday morning, a man was pushing is bike along rails and was issued a citation.

“It sounds kind of nefarious, sounds naughty. We're not saying you're a criminal. We're just saying you're not supposed to be there,” said Julie LaCombe, the Kansas Operation Life Saver Executive Director.

LaCombe says trains are not only quieter but faster than most people realize. If distracted, you might not hear the train and there’s no way you can outrun one.

For McCarl, it’s a good day when the tracks ahead are clear.

For more information on safety tips, visit this website:

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