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Union Pacific promotes railroad safety

Posted: Updated: Oct 4, 2012 06:32 PM

By Victoria Shirley

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Union Pacific invited public figures to get a look at the area from the rails running through it.

For Monroe mayor Jamie Mayo, it was a new experience. "Well I'm 55 years old and it took 55 years to ride my first train so I'm very excited about that." said Mayor Jamie Mayo. For ULM President Nick Bruno, the scenic ride was a chance to ride a rare passenger train from the 1950's. "It's been a long time since I've ridden a train." said Dr. Bruno.

But the leisurely trip wasn't just for fun, it was an effort by Union Pacific to promote rail safety. "This train is going to help bring everybody together and partner up and be a team for safety." said Drew Tessier, Union Pacific Railroad Public Affairs.

The trains destination? Mer Rouge, a village that has seen first hand the devastation of train related accidents.  Just five months ago, two women and an infant lost their lives trying to beat a train at a crossing.

The accident, tragic, but easily preventable. "The trains can't stop the trains can't swerve, the train can't get out of the way so the driver needs to take that responsibility to make sure they are safe crossing the tracks." said Stephen Lazzari, Union Pacific Public Safety Manager.

Union Pacific Public Safety Manager Stephen Lazzari says drivers should yield at rail tracks and on foot, Lazarri says never use the tracks as pathways. It's not only dangerous but also illegal. "When it comes to improving safety on the railroad tracks and around railroad property, it's not just the railroads responsibility, or the city or parish or state, it's all of us." said Lazarri.

On Saturday, October 13th, Union Pacific is bringing their message to ULM's football game. The company will promote rail safety during ULM's football pre-game events.

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