Railroad officials and law enforcement officers prowled along the railroad tracks in Superior on Tuesday, Sept. 24, watching for railroad crossing violators. The exercise was one of a number held statewide during Wisconsin’s Rail Safety Week.
Two Superior police officers took part in the enforcement effort.
“Our main thing is safety,” Lt. Thor Trone said. “If the lights are on or the gates are down, you need to be safe and not cross the tracks. You don’t want to cross in front of a train.”
In 2018, 12 people were injured and four died in 39 railroad crossing crashes in Wisconsin. In addition, three people were injured and three died while trespassing on railroad tracks.
Two railroad crossing crashes occurred in Douglas County in 2018. No injuries were reported.
A vehicle driving northbound on South Stone Road in Parkland slid into the side of a locomotive on Feb. 24, 2018. The driver told Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Luke Wagar that he heard the train blow its horn as he got close to the tracks, but when he applied his brakes the car slid and hit the train. The vehicle suffered severe front end damage, but the driver said he was OK.
A train struck a dump truck at Highway 35 and Schallermeir Road in the town of Superior on Sept. 29, 2018. The crash flipped the dump truck on its roof, according to the sheriff’s office report.
The driver of the dump truck was sore and had scrapes on his arm, but was uninjured.
The incident occurred at a spot where two railroad tracks cross the road. The dump truck driver stopped for a northbound train to cross, but did not see a southbound train coming on the second set of tracks. He told Deputy Matt Izzard that he finally saw the train as he was on the crossing but it was too late. The driver was issued a citation for failing to yield the right of way at a railroad crossing.
One railroad crossing accident has already taken place in Douglas County this year in the town of Amnicon.
A train struck an unoccupied van at a railroad crossing on County Highway V on Jan. 28. According to the report by Deputy Brian Witt, the driver turned north along the tracks thinking it was a road, got stuck and exited the vehicle. There was low visibility at the time due to heavy snow.
A citation for failing to stop for a railroad signal is $269.50. Driving around a crossing gate carries a $401.50 penalty on the first offense. A second offense in three years will cost the driver $665.50.