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Homeless Pedestrian Killed By Train

Two homeless men were trying to get across the tracks around the North First and Burger intersection. One man made it and the other did not. Police are withholding his name until his family of the deceased is notified. One witness said it looked as if they were trying to beat the train.

Abilene Train Track Looking Westward
photo image by: Rudy Fernandez

The train applied it’s brakes before impact, but the victim was struck hard enough to flip him over. The train made two loud crashing bangs, many eye-witnesses said they thought a vehicle may have been involved, that wasn’t the case. The crash bang sounds the train made were from the trailing train cars smacking together all at the same time. The incident occurred about 2:05 p.m. near the intersection of North 1st and Burger streets that area of the tracks is a popular crossing point for the homeless because of the proximity to Love and Care Ministries and the local restaurant that feeds the homeless. The last time Abilene had a pedestrian killed by the train several others followed, in an effort to avoid unnecessary accidents I want to share the following.

Some quick train facts to keep in mind from:

  • Trains cannot stop quickly:
    Average freight train stopping distance:
    55 mph = over 1 mile.
    Eight-car passenger train stopping distance:
    79 mph = over 1 mile.
  • On average at least 463 people are killed and 414 are injured while trespassing on railroad rights-of-way and property every year.(Source: Federal Railroad Administration)
  • Approximately every two hours either a vehicle or a pedestrian is struck by a train in the United States. That’s 12 incidents each and everyday!
  • Track Facts & Tips

    • Railroad tracks, trestles, yard and equipment are private property. Walking or playing on them is illegal–trespassers are subject to arrest and fines. Too often the penalty is death.
    • There are 200,000miles of railroad tracks in the United States.
    • Since 1990, more than 5,500 people have been killed while trespassing on railroad rights-of-way and property.
    • Trains cannot stop quickly. A freight train moving at 55 miles per hour, or an 8-car passenger train moving at 79 miles per hour, can take a mile or more to stop.
    • Do not walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehciles (ATVs) on railroad tracks or rights-of-way or through tunnels.
    • Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings. Observe and obey all warning signs and signals.
    • Do not hunt, fish or bungee jump from railroad trestles. They are not designed to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges–there is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass.
    • Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time. A slip of the foot can cost you a limb, or your life.
    • ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.
    • Remember: Rails and recreation do not mix.

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