Skip to main content.

Back to Web Site

Village of McFarland, WI

Train Safety Tips

  • The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate
  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property.
  • It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who suddenly sees someone on the tracks will likely be unable to stop in time. Railroad property is private property. For your safety, it is illegal to be there unless you are at a designated public crossing.
  • Trains overhang the tracks by at least three feet in both directions; loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are in the right-of-way next to the tracks, you can be hit by the train.
  • Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes. A second train might be blocked by the first. Trains can come from either direction. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train in both directions.
  • When walking with children near rail crossings, do not let them run ahead or lag behind. Make sure they are crossing with you.
  • Be aware of sight or sound obstructions that may prevent you from seeing or hearing an approaching train. Take extra caution around these objects.
  • Educate your children on the dangers of rail crossings. Practice crossing tracks with them.
  • Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. You can be fined for failure to obey these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and DO NOT cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it is safe to do so.
  • Do not hunt, fish or bungee jump from railroad trestles. There is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass. Trestles are not meant to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges! Never walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks, rights-of-way or through tunnels.
  • Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time. A slip of the foot can cost you a limb or your life.
  • Be aware trains do not follow set schedules. Any Time is Train Time!
  • Always cross at a 90-degree angle.
  • Turn off music and remove earphones at all rail crossings. Music can be a deadly distraction near the tracks; the sound may prevent you from hearing an approaching train. Trains are quieter than you think, go faster than they appear, and do not run on set schedule 
  • Wet train tracks can be slippery. Dismount and walk your bike across the tracks. Step over the tracks - not on them - to avoid slipping.
  • Watch out for the second train. 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.
  • If you see a train coming, wait! Flashing lights or a lowering gate means a train is approaching. Do not proceed until the gates go completely up and the lights go off. It is illegal to go around lowered gates, whether on a bike, on foot or in a vehicle.
  • Crossing tracks on a bicycle requires caution and extra attention! Narrow wheels can get caught at crossings. If possible, walk - don't ride - across.

5915 Milwaukee St. | P.O. Box 110 | McFarland, WI 53558-0110 | ph: 608-838-3153 | fx: 608-838-3619