Police warn resident to stay clear of railroad tracks


Police departments in 48 states including Connecticut blitzed railroad crossings with safety information on Tuesday for Operation Clear Track.

Plainfield police Officer Hailey Griffin and Detective Paul Gadue distributed 900 safety pamphlets on Tuesday to drivers crossing the tracks on Railroad Avenue.

The same scenario played out in towns and cities in 48 states for Amtrak's Operation Clear Track, which is a national campaign to raise awareness and enforce the laws regarding railroad crossings.

"I look both ways anyway because I just want to make sure I'm safe,” Cynthia Fowler, of Plainfield, said.

"I think you should get the word out to everybody to be careful,” Joe Tobin, of Bolton, said.

"Make sure you pay attention to the lights when they're flashing,” Taylor Desjardins, of Plainfield, said.

The whole purpose of the campaign is to stress that train tracks are a dangerous location. First, the area in Plainfield is private property and a person could face trespassing charges if caught by police.

Police also said trains aren't as wide as the gauge of the track. Trains are three feet wider on each side of the tracks.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation in the past 10 years there have been 45 fatalities in Connecticut at railroad crossings.

In 2014, there were nine deaths. Six injuries and five of those from vehicle incidents at crossings. In 2015, there were eight fatalities. In 2016, there were six fatalities There were three injured, two for trespassing. This year, two fatalities have occurred one at the Branford train station the other at the Madison station.

Plainfield Police Chief Michael Surprenant told Eyewitness News he knows of four rail fatalities over the years in his town.

"We do feel it’s important to get out and have a campaign obviously make people aware and bring it back to the forefront of the safety,” Surprenant said.

Operation Clear Track is reaching out on all media platforms to send the message, see tracks, think train. Police departments and Amtrak officials said the purpose of the campaign is to save lives.

For more information on Operation Clear Track, click here.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.