Railroad safety crackdown staged in Winona - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Railroad safety crackdown staged in Winona

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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's a familiar sound in Winona.

"We have a lot of trains that come through Winona on a daily basis and with the number of trains that come through here I'm surprised that we don't have more train-related accidents than we do," said Jim Sjoberg, city of Winona police officer.

Union Pacific Railroad police teamed up with Winona law enforcement Thursday to drive home the importance of obeying traffic laws at railroad crossings.

By law, motorists are required to stop as soon as the lights come on at an intersection. Authorities say, taking your chances is just plain loco.

Racing a train puts the motorist and the railroad crew's safety at risk.

"You can't stop a train on a dime and they're no match for even the largest vehicle you see on the road," Sjoberg said.

As the train gained steam officers had an eye on the road.

"You'll be seeing a bright red Chevy Blazer that's in violation and I'll be stopping the little green car that's right behind it," Sjoberg said.

And their minds on safety.

"I think they get familiar. People around town get familiar with a lot of the train traffic cause the trains are coming in and out of here all the time and they just get used to it and they get complacent," Sjoberg said.

No word yet on how many citations and warnings were issued.

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