Officials warn about dangers of crossing railroad tracks after deadly weekend

Three people died after getting hit by trains on BNSF railroads this weekend.

It was a dangerous weekend on the railroad tracks when three people died after getting hit by trains.

According to Burlington Northern - Santa Fe Railway spokesman Gus Melonas, two incidents took place in the Toppenish area and one in Edmonds.

Melonas says these incidents brings the total of fatalities due to trespassing on BNSF property up to eight this year in Washington state.

It's also a trend they've been seeing. Melonas says, "Last year to date, on BNSF property in Washington state, there were 23 trespass fatalities. That was the second highest in the last 20 years."

One reason behind the incidents: More train traffic. Melonas says BNSF is experiencing a record number of trains in the Pacific Northwest.

"On Stampede Pass - which is the line through Yakima, Toppenish to Pasco - we're running an average 12 to 15 trains per day. That's a high number for that line,” he says.

But more trains means you need to be more aware of what's coming down the tracks.

Melonas adds that even if a train crew puts on the brakes, it can take them up to a mile to come to a complete stop.

He warns pedestrians and drivers should expect trains to run on any track at any time in any direction.

Pasco Police Sgt. Scott Warren agrees and says common sense needs to be heeded around trains: "If you're on foot or in a car before you cross and if the bars are down, just wait for them to go up. You can't get there fast enough if you don't get there at all."

Besides being dangerous, both Sgt. Warren and Melonas say even walking across train tracks is illegal since it's considered trespassing.

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