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Extra enforcement planned around San Diego County railroad tracks

Police to crack down on illegal crossings
Posted at 8:02 AM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 12:56:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Law enforcement agencies across San Diego Country will have extra officers stationed near busy railroad intersections this week as part of "Operation Clear Track. "

The week-long enforcement ties into National Rail Safety Week, from Sept. 22-28.

In Carlsbad, officers will be near Carlsbad Village Drive and Grand Avenue during the lunch hour, reminding people to only cross when there are no trains nearby.

"The goal is to raise railroad safety awareness through education and the enforcement of state railroad grade crossing and trespassing laws," the Carlsbad Police Department said in a statement.

Amtrak officers will also keep an eye on well-known trouble spots along the coast, like a stretch in Del Mar where surfers and hikers frequently cross over tracks to get to the beach.

"It's not safe to cross here," said surfer Cooper Baker, who admitted he does it regularly. "But, if people have their wits about them and make good choices about where they're stepping, it's totally safe. So I just try to make sure I know a train is not going to be here and that my footing is sure. I think it's fine."

A recent study found San Diego is the 9th deadliest county for accidental train casualties in the U.S. from 2013-2017. In that time, 44 people were killed while trying to cross tracks. Los Angeles County topped the list, with 110 deaths in that time.

"It's definitely good to give people a reminder that trains are coming through," said surfer Shayne Jensen. "You gotta be safe."

In the last year, the North County Transit District has taken steps to make trains safer. In 2018, they equipped all of their trains with Positive Train Control, a new technology that automatically slows trains down if any danger is detected.

Meanwhile, there have been calls in Del Mar for more railroad crossings to be built. Residents are asking for more options, so they're not tempted to cross illegally. City leaders have also introduced plans to put fences around the tracks.

For more information about the nation-wide campaign to make railroad crossings safer, click here.