Special Report: Racing the Train - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Racing the Train

Georgia has more highway rail crossing collisions than all but four other states. (Source: WALB) Georgia has more highway rail crossing collisions than all but four other states. (Source: WALB)
Laura Phelps, CSX Media Relations Manager (Source: WALB) Laura Phelps, CSX Media Relations Manager (Source: WALB)
CSX Railroad has about 2,700 miles of track in Georgia, with a little more than 2,000 crossings. (Source: WALB) CSX Railroad has about 2,700 miles of track in Georgia, with a little more than 2,000 crossings. (Source: WALB)
While filming at a crossing, several people walked across the tracks outside crosswalks. (Source: WALB) While filming at a crossing, several people walked across the tracks outside crosswalks. (Source: WALB)
There is no second chance if you lose a race with a train at a crossing. (Source: WALB) There is no second chance if you lose a race with a train at a crossing. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Georgia has more highway rail crossing collisions than all but four other states.

Those crashes are most common during the summer, and railroad officials are urging South Georgians to use caution to prevent tragedy.

CSX Transportation has video that few have access to: train highway crossing collisions from the engineer's perspective in the locomotive.

Changing perspective

In one video, the engineer sees a log truck trying to race the train across the tracks, but can't make it. He hits his brakes and sounds his horn, but can't stop the huge train in time.

The good news, no one was hurt in that crash.  A train going 55 mph takes one mile to stop, and CSX officials said drivers need to know that.

In another video, it's a car at night trying to race the train. No one died in this incident, but officials said this is emotionally harmful for their engineers.

"They apply the brakes immediately, but he knows it's going to take one mile to stop. So you can imagine what goes through his head, knowing what's going to happen, and having a front row seat for it," said Laura Phelps, CSX Media Relations Manager.

Studies show a locomotive going 55 mph hitting a vehicle is equal to the force of a car hitting an empty aluminum can. 

Something you should consider the next time you cross a railroad track. 

"The vast majority of what we see is people who are in a hurry. People who are distracted, and that's easy to understand. The vast majority of us have phones in our hands most of the day," said Phelps.

Officials said the number of highway rail collisions increase in the summer, so railroad officials urge drivers to use caution at every rail crossing.

"You want to be aware of your surroundings. You want to stop, you want to listen for the train. Turn your radio down, look in both directions," said Phelps.

While filming at a crossing, several people walked across the tracks outside crosswalks. Railroad experts said anytime is train time.

"Modern diesel locomotives are a lot quieter than you think. So if you have your ear buds in you may not hear that train coming."

There is no second chance if you lose a race with a train at a crossing. 

That's why safety experts say stop, look both ways, listen and cross safely. 

The good news is that highway rail crossing collisions this year are down.

In 2014, there were 108 crossing collisions in Georgia. In 2015, that number fell to 98. 

Through April this year there have been about 35 crossing collisions in Georgia. Nationally in 2015 there were more than two thousand crossing collisions in the United States.

CSX Railroad has about 2,700 miles of track in Georgia, with a little more than 2,000 crossings.

Copyright 2016 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

Powered by Frankly