Enjoy Barrington

Barrington is crisscrossed by both the Union Pacific/Metra and the EJ&E/CN railroads. With the CN Railroad purchase of the EJ&E, we will see substantially increased amounts of rail freight traffic rolling through town. Aside from the “normal” hazards at grade crossings, freight trains and the cargo they carry, have the potential for creating additional hazards. Here are some railroad safety tips:

Pedestrian Safety:

  • The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be ticketed or fined. Cross tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine. If you are in a rail yard uninvited by a railroad official you are trespassing and subject to criminal prosecution.

  • It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who suddenly sees someone on the tracks will likely be unable to stop in time. Railroad property is private property. For your safety, it is illegal to be there unless you are at a designated public crossing.
  • Trains overhang the tracks by at least three feet in both directions; loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are in the right-of-way next to the tracks, you can be hit by the train.
  • Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes. A second train might be blocked by the first. Trains can come from either direction. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train in both directions.
  • Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. You can be fined for failure to obey these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and DO NOT cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it's safe to do so.
  • Do not hunt, fish or bungee jump from railroad trestles. There is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass. Trestles are not meant to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges! Never walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks, rights-of-way or through tunnels.
  • Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time. A slip of the foot can cost you a limb or your life.
  • Be aware trains do not follow set schedules. Any Time is Train Time!

Vehicle Safety:

  • Trains and cars don't mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
  • The train you see is closer and faster moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That's 18 football fields!
  • Never drive around lowered gates — it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming. If you run in the same direction the train is traveling, when the train hits your car you could be injured by flying debris. Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
  • At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
  • When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember it isn't safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
  • ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.

In the Event of an Emergency:

  • If you witness a train incident of any sort, the most important thing you can do is call 9-1-1.
  • Use caution-- train derailments can be especially dangerous. Freight trains frequently carry various types of hazardous materials, including materials that may be combustible, corrosive, toxic, explosive, or even radioactive. Never approach the scene of a derailment.
  • If you are in your car at the scene of a derailment, immediately drive away, if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to drive, immediately turn off and exit your vehicle, and walk quickly away from the scene, watching out for other vehicles and hazards as you do so.
  • If you are on foot at the scene of a derailment, immediately walk quickly away, watching out for vehicles and other hazards as you do so.
  • Never walk into or through a cloud or smoke from derailed train cars. These clouds or smoke may contain toxic fumes. Get yourself away from the scene, and always head upwind.
  • If you are in your home when a rail incident occurs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not approach the scene; you will only increase your exposure to danger. When emergency responders arrive, you may be advised to either shelter in place or evacuate, if hazardous materials are present.
  • If you are told to shelter in place due to hazardous materials:
    • Close all doors & windows. Seal with tape or wet towels.
    • Turn off air conditioners, heaters and fans.
    • Don’t use fire places. Extinguish the fire. Close damper.
    • Do not go to schools to pick up children. Children will be cared for by school personnel.
    • Listen to TV or radio for information.
  • If you are told to evacuate due to hazardous materials:
    • Leave as soon as you can.
    • If time permits, remember to take your pets with you.
    • Help any neighbors who may need special assistance
    • Take your pre-assembled “Go Kit”.
  • Return only when told by authorities that it is safe to do so.


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