KOLD Investigates: Trespassing on the tracks

Trouble on the tracks: Tucson in middle of dangerous trend

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - As the number of people trespassing on railroad tracks and being hit by trains increases nationwide, Pima County continues to experience more of these situations than any other county in Arizona.

The Federal Railroad Administration shared details Tuesday, Feb. 19 on a plan to reduce the number of casualties around train tracks. The administration figures there are nearly three trespassers a day hit by trains across the United States.

The counties of Arizona are far from the most the dangerous in the country, but FRA records show Pima County leads the state in recent years for these incidents. Each year since 2015 shows the following incidents in Pima County:

  • 4 in 2015
  • 4 in 2016
  • 10 in 2017
  • 6 in 2018

Those are equal to or higher than Maricopa County’s incidents in the last three of four years:

  • 5 in 2015
  • 4 in 2016
  • 7 in 2017
  • 2 in 2018

In that time, the Arizona Corporation Commission has approved several improvement projects for railroad crossings around the Tucson area. Records kept by the ACC show the projects are in various stages of completion. Those projects were submitted by Union Pacific.

A spokesman for UP provided multiple examples of safety, education and enforcement programs the company has administered in recent years. Specifics about local events were not available in time for this report.

The Pima County Departments of Transportation is researching questions raised by this report, according to a county spokeswoman.

The local Brother of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen was contacted as well for this story. A response was not received in time for the initial publication.

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