One paragraph from a St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigative report absolutely jumped off my screen:
Railroad companies across the country at times refuse to take even small steps to deal with the problem of people walking on their tracks, a Post-Dispatch investigation found, based on more than 90 interviews and a review of thousands of pages of regulatory filings, court documents and industry publications. Some railroads defend their right to run trains with little concern for what may lie ahead. And for regulators, these types of accidents largely fall into a blind spot.
The report also indicated that about 500 Americans uniformly identified as "trespassers" lose their life each year because they are struck by passenger or freight trains. Those deadly collisions most often happen along stretches of track lacking fences or gates. And also in areas where trains travel at high speeds.
Rail corporations rarely accept responsibility for the crashes, and, as noted, the companies appear to do little to prevent them.
Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer's Perspective
I can't do full justice to all the revelations in the article. I can say, however that as a longtime practitioner in railroad injury and wrongful death cases, I have long believed Amtrak, BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and all other rail companies could avoid many train-pedestrian deaths by building fences in known well-traversed areas, installing gates and doing more to control track access. This would not just save pedestrians, but could save bike riders and car drivers from injury and death involving trains. Keeping people off railroad crossings and off railroad tracks has a double benefit, as it can also save engineers, conductors and trackmen from the horror of these type of railroad accidents.