Lynchburg, Va - A nation-wide campaign aimed to end railroad-crossing collisions hopes to gain more attention to save lives. The campaign is titled: "See tracks?Think train." Many times, people are witnesses to cars and pedestrians recklessly darting across the railroad tracks as trains approach daily across the country. "The speeds it takes an average freight train is a mile or more to stop. You can visualize that by the length of 18 football fields," said Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Melvin Jones. According to operation lifesaver, there were more than 2,000 vehicle-train collisions in the u.s. Last year. "Motorists are not the only ones. Pedestrians, we had 11 Virginians who lost their lives last year," said Jones. As a part of their "See train? Think tracks" campaign this week, operation lifesaver organized a 364 mile train ride from Cleveland, Tennessee to Lynchburg to raise awareness about rail safety. "the path it takes is going to be areas where we've had unfortunate incidences" said jones. Local and state government officials as well as various law enforcement officials were invited aboard during each stop. Bedford police chief jim day recalled some of the surveillance footage shown on Friday morning's trip. "there were incidences of tractor-trailers trying to cross when the train was within 100 yards or so. Another one was a lady pushing a child in a stroller right in front of the train," day said. For train conductors and engineers, the proactive is something they see too often. The lynchburg train is one of four safety whistle-stops norfolk southern will run this month. The next safety train will run from delaware to pennsylvania.
WSET ABC 13 covers news, sports and weather in the Heart of Virginia: Lynchburg, Danville and Roanoke and nearby communities including Amherst, Lexington, Cave Springs, Blacksburg, Martinsville, Farmville, North Shore, Glasgow, Altavista, Gretna, Chatham, Blairs, Bassett, Rocky Mt, Penhook, Moneta and Buena Vista