Contributed by Nikki Vioto
Every year, the Alaska Railroad sees an increase in trespassing incidents on the train tracks when summer arrives. Trespassing is not only illegal, but it is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America.
The terrifying trend of more people trespassing on Alaska Railroad tracks seems to have come early this year along with the warm temperatures that have arrived in Rail-Belt communities, from Seward to Anchorage to Fairbanks.
The evidence is clear and terrifying, just see the attached photo, which was taken this weekend along Turnagain Arm and shows a group of people, including children, walking along the tracks.
This reiterates just how crucial it is to inform Alaskans about the dangers of trespassing and share track safety messaging with them. There are still many people who simply don’t understand that the consequences are much bigger than getting a fine. It could be a fatal mistake.
Each year in the U.S., approximately 400 people die from trespassing along a railroad's right of way. Additionally, almost as many are injured. The good news is that all of these incidents are 100 percent preventable, and the Alaska Railroad hopes that by educating the community fewer incidents will occur.
Warm temperatures are expected to continue into the weekend, with the high averaging around 50 degrees in Wasilla over the next week. The Alaska Railroad is urging local residents and visitors to stay off the train tacks while they are out enjoying the sunshine with their family and friends.