Tempe police, Union Pacific spread awareness of railroad safety

- Tempe police want to make sure you stay safe around the train tracks, and they're spreading awareness as part of the "Up Cares" safety campaign.

It's a program both Union Pacific and Tempe police use to educate the public on proper railroad safety for pedestrians and vehicle traffic by stationing officers near every train track for about five miles.

While there, officers monitor for violators and even issue some citations.

Tempe police say the "Up Cares" campaign is important because drivers and pedestrians ignore railroad signals, flashers and gates all too often when crossing the track.

"The comparison to a locomotive to a car is the same as you crushing a soda can," said Mike Brucks with Union Pacific Railroad. "It's 4,000-to-one, so trains can't stop as quick and they weigh so many hundreds of thousands tons and usually they can't stop, so the end result is devastating."

Freight trains can travel up to 55 miles per hour and take at least a mile to make a complete stop, leaving almost no time for pedestrians or drivers to cross tracks safely.

"For the train crew, it's got to be very... it's a very helpless feeling whenever someone is on the tracks because there's nothing that they can do besides apply the emergency brake," Brucks said.

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