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Union Pacific With Ames Police Check Motorists at Rail Crossings

AMES, Iowa-The Union Pacific Railroad brought a special train to Ames on Wednesday morning. The railroad partnered with Ames Police, and the Story County Sheriff’s Office to help work on rail safety.

“We have a special train with us it’s a couple of locomotives back to back, said Mark Wasko, a Senior Special Agent with the Union Pacific Railroad Police Department. “We’re going to run them across the crossings just as we normally would and observe motorist behavior.”

“We have a high number of trains coming through Ames,” said Chris Crippen, of the Ames Police Department. “Of course we have a lot of pedestrians, that cross through the various downtown crossings, as well as some of the crossings in the west part of town.”

The locomotives ran with police officers on board, along with members of the media. Officers were also located on either side of the tracks in squad cars to stop offenders.

Basically a driver, or a pedestrian must stop at the crossing if the red light is flashing, even if the gates are not down. As to if the offenders were given tickets, or a warning, it was left to officer discretion. One offender did go to jail, as officers found an outstanding warrant for that individual.

“Our goal is not to write tickets.” said Wasko. “Our goal on these is that everyone does what they’re supposed to, and we have compliance and no issues and everyone goes home safe.”

During the enforcement, a number of offenders were found. Cars which crossed while the red lights were flashing, and at least two pedestrians who crossed after the locomotives passed, but while the lights were still flashing.