Community Roll Call

Members of the Wauwatosa Police Department's Community Support Division, with backup provided by the folks at, are now blogging. We will be providing you with an ongoing series of crime prevention tips, any current crime trends as well as pertinent news and notes as it relates to your Police Department.

Railroad Crossing Safety Part II

Auto, Pedestrian

Railroad Safety Quiz.

All answers are either True or False and will be listed at the bottom of this blog. Play fair and test your knowledge.

  1. Walking on the railroad tracks or the right of ways on either side of the tracks is illegal.
  1. You will be safe if you don not walk between the rails staying on the ties.
  1. It is safe to cross the tracks anywhere as long as you can see ¼ mile in each direction.
  1. A locomotive is not always at the front of the train.
  1. It is safe to cross the tracks just as soon as the last car passes the crossing.
  1. As a pedestrian, it is safe to ignore the flashing red lights at the crossing.
  1. Trains are noisy. You will have plenty of time to step out of the train’s path when you hear a train coming.
  1. Playing on rail equipment, tracks or railcars is forbidden.
  1. Crossing tracks with a baby stroller, in a wheelchair or on other narrow wheels requires caution and extra attention.


  1. TRUE. It can take a mile or more to stop a train. That’s 18 football fields! Because of that issue the railroads have made all their property private property and if you are on them anywhere but at a graded crossing you are in fact trespassing.
  1. FALSE. Trains overhang the tracks by at least 3 feet in both directions. Loose strapping hanging from freight cars may extend much further
  1. FALSE. The only safe and legal place to cross the tracks is at a designated public crossing with a crossbuck sign, flashing red lights or a gate. Crossing anywhere else is trespassing which can result in a ticket with a fine or forfeiture.
  1. TRUE. Trains are sometimes pushed by locomotives instead of being pulled. Trains can move in either direction at any time, particularly commuter and light rail passenger trains.
  1. FALSE. Your view of a second train might be blocked by the first. Wait after the first train passes until you can see clearly in both directions.
  1. FALSE. Flashing red lights signal the approach of a train. Never walk past the flashing lights or around lowered gates at a crossing. Wait until the lights have stopped flashing and the gate is up.
  1. FALSE. Modern trains are quieter than ever with none of that telltale “Clickety-clack”. An approaching train may be closer and moving faster than it appears.
  1. TRUE. If you are in the rail yard or on the railroad property uninvited, you are trespassing and subject to arrest and prosecution. Worse, you could use your life.
  1. TRUE. Narrow wheels can get caught at railroad crossings. If possible, walk, don’t roll across. If you are unable to walk please consider getting assistance and always cross at a 90 degree angle to prevent your wheels from getting caught.

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