Railroads warn of the dangers of hunting on the tracks

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Railroad officials in Iowa are urging hunters to resist the temptation to hunt on railroad property. Iowa Northern Railroad director of administration, Josh Sabin, says walking on or near the tracks is illegal and it’s dangerous because trains are not like car where the driver can just hit the brakes and stop. “An engineer may not be able to spot someone ahead of them until he’s right on top of them and no matter how hard and engineer tries — especially with a full train with a little bit of speed — and even if it’s an empty train, it’s going to take quite a distance to get the train stopped,” Sabin says.

He says it can take up to one mile to get the train to stop. Many types of wildlife migrate and feed along the edges of freshly harvested fields, but Sabin says if you see the tracks, you should avoid the area around them. Sabin says most railroads are 25 or 50 feet on either side of the track so you need to stay at least 25 or 50 feet away as you approach a railroad right of way that’s where the trespassing starts. He addes that  they don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the outdoors, but safety is also a factor. In addition, Union Pacific railroad officials say their railcars are often carrying unusual freight such as wind turbine parts which hang over the tracks by several feet and can be dangerous if someone is walking nearby. You can face a fine if you are caught trespassing on the railroad line.