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Railroad crossing safety

With the 2023 Louisiana sugarcane harvest in full swing, sugarcane producers should advise their drivers of proper railroad crossing safety.

Railroad crossing safety is always an important matter and Union Pacific Railroad is saying “Call before you haul” and “Find the blue and white to save your life” in a series of English and Spanish language public service announcements.

At all railroad crossings is a blue and white sign with a toll-free number to call if a driver or tractor operator gets stuck on a crossing. Each crossing has a blue and white sign identifying the crossing and a toll-free phone number and the crossing identification number.

Sugarcane farmers can also give advance notice to the train dispatcher of harvesting activities on a particular time and day  Farmers can call the number at a particular crossing to advise the train dispatcher of harvest activities at public and private railroad crossings. Written orders will be issued to train crews about harvest activities and dictate that the crew will sound whistles.

“The advanced notification is a huge opportunity for our Train Crews to know what to expect while operating trains,” said Buck Russel of UP’s public safety office. “The notification also goes to our police, operating, senior leadership, maintenance, engineering, and safety teams.”

Russel recommends calling the phone number on the blue and white sign at the railroad crossing but another emergency number, 888-877-7267 (888-UPRR-COP), is also available. The phone numbers on the blue and white signs and the 888-UPRR-COP numbers call the Union Pacific Emergency Center in Omaha

There are also educational opportunities for railroad safety teams to go to selected crossings and pass out traffic safety information to farm drivers and other motorists.

The PSA message is clear:

In an emergency if stuck on the tracks?

If your vehicle gets stuck on a track, get out immediately.

Find the blue and white emergency notification system (ENS) sign.

Call the toll-free number on the blue and white sign and give them the crossing number so the train operators know your location.

Never get near the tracks if a train is approaching.

Remember, trains can come from either direction at any time.

Don’t stop on railroad tracks.

When gates are down or lights are flashing, a train is coming/

To report emergencies, call the number on the blue sign and/or call 888-UPRR-Cop (877-7267)

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