This past weekend the Norwood Police Department participated in the Franklin Line Safety Blitz with the MBTA Transit Police to increase enforcement of trespassing laws on local railways.
"The aim was to increase awareness of the dangers of trespassing on the railways," a statement from the Norwood Police Department read. "Our youth are at particular risk. In the last year alone, three trespassers have been struck and killed by trains in Norwood. Many people struck by trains are suicides, but some are struck by accident."
The most recent train-related fatality in Norwood occurred at the end of August, when a trespasser on the tracks was struck and killed by a commuter rail train between the Islington and Norwood Depot stations.
Under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 160 Section 218, trespassing on railroad property is an arrestable offense, however the Norwood Police Department made the decision to merely summons people found on the tracks.
During last weekend's blitz, complaints were filed against eight violators, three adults and five juveniles. Additionally, a ninth person, a juvenile, was arrested for trespassing and cited civilly for Marijuana possession.
Norwood Police said that during this operation they learned the following valuable information from the Transit Police:
- People who end up on railroad property for some reason should stay at least four feet from the rail. Never walk within the gauge (between the rails).
- Trains can move in either direction on either track. In other words, do not rely on inbound trains moving only on inbound tracks.
- Some trains, particularly inbound trains, are very quiet. The locomotive on inbound trains is in the rear of the train and cannot be heard until it’s too late.
- An optical illusion makes trains appear to be farther away and slower-moving than they actually are.
- Do not rely on the schedule for train movements. There are off-schedule movements of equipment as well as freight traffic.
- Do not walk near railroad switches. Many switches are power activated from remote locations.
- Do not expect a train to stop for you. It can take up to one mile for the train to stop.
The Norwood Police Department asks families to talk to their children about the danger of walking along railroad tracks.