Operation Lifesaver

Train safety classroom is on the tracks

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(SHELDON)–About 300 people boarded a Union Pacific passenger train in Sheldon last Friday for a safety presentation by Operation Lifesaver. Established in 1972, Operation Lifesaver travels around the country educating people about railroad crossings and right of ways.

Haley Wagner, from Archer IA, was part of a young group of students riding the train from Sheldon to Alton. Her thoughts about the train ride were pretty simple in the beginning.

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The passenger train could only go about 35 miles per hour, but the average freight train gets up to about 55 miles per hour. Bob Resch, manager of Public Safety for Union Pacific, said that a train going 55 takes a long time to stop.

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Research shows that you’re 40 times more likely to die in a car train collision than any other collision. According to the DOT there were 12 train related accidents in Plymouth County over the last ten years, with one fatality in 2001.

Resch added that half of fatal train crashes across the nation happen during the day at gated crossings where the gate arm is down. These incidences can be prevented if you stick to the basic rules of railroad crossing safety.

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Following the Operation Life Saver presentation Haley said she learned something.

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She added that if more people heard the safety message they might be more likely pay attention at railroad crossings.

To learn more about Operation Life Saver and Crossing safety visit oli.org. (News report by Angela Drake of KLEM News)