Iowa DOT News Release

Play it safe – watch out for trains

Posted on: February 18, 2010

AMES – Feb. 18, 2010 – With so much snow on the ground and more in the forecast, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and Iowa Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit railroad safety education group, remind outdoor enthusiasts to "always expect a train" and stay away from the tracks.


“Whether you are on foot, in a car or on a snowmobile or ATV, trains move faster than you may think. Trains can be quieter than you think, and they cannot stop quickly to avoid someone on the tracks,” said Tammy Nicholson, Iowa DOT's Office of Rail Transportation director, “Because any time is train time, trespassing on or near train tracks could be deadly."


Safety tips


  • Walking or riding snowmobiles or ATVs on tracks is trespassing; it is dangerous and illegal. Trespassers are subject to arrest and/or fines.
  • At designated crossings, check before crossing for trains moving in different directions on multiple tracks.
  • Distractions can be deadly, too; turn your cell phone and MP3 players off when you are near train tracks.
  • Stay three or four feet away from railroad tracks. Locomotives and rail cars are wider than the tracks.
  • It can take a mile or more to stop a train.


Visit the Iowa DOT’s Web site for additional information about the use of snowmobiles in Iowa and to view a snowmobile-railroad safety video. The video uses humor to stress the important safety message: “Ride the trails, stay off and away from the railroad tracks.”




Contact: Tammy Nicholson at 515-239-1052 or


Iowa highway in the evening