Two deaths prompt police to crack down on railroad trespassers

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DECATUR, Ill. — Decatur police are working with Norfolk Southern police to crack down on trespassers entering railroad property.

Personnel with both departments traveled around the city to pass out information about rail safety to citizens and businesses. They warn that there are potential legal consequences as well: Second or third offenses can lead to fines or jail time. The departments are planning to step up patrols of railroad property within the city.

The efforts come in response to a 2016 incident in which two intoxicated individuals were hit and killed by a train as they attempted to take a shortcut to access a community center, the Decatur Herald & Review reports.

The tracks in that area have a history of being particularly troublesome, officials say, because homeless individuals tend to travel the area on foot.

Decatur sees up to 50 trains each day. Norfolk Southern says that in 2016, it issued 44 different warnings instructing people to stay off of the tracks. FRA records show that in the first six months of 2017, trespassing onto railroad property has resulted in 15 deaths and 10 injuries in Illinois alone.
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