Riding along with the railroad police
The Norfolk Southern Railroad Police have an action-packed and most times, dangerous job. They canvass their tracks to make sure no one is walking along them; they look for squatters or any other illegal activity.
Norfolk Southern says nine people have died on their tracks since May 1st after being hit by a train.
Now they are beefing up patrols to prevent trespassing.
Officers climb up steep embankments, get inches away from speeding trains and never know who they’re going to find along the tracks.
They slowly drive along the bumpy “right of ways” alongside the tracks in their unmarked SUVs looking for culprits walking where they’re not supposed to be.
While ABC 57 was shadowing the team, officers found a few squatters living in tents at the base of the railroad tracks.
Officers gave them a warning and told them to head to a nearby homeless shelter.
A few miles away, they found a man walking his dog right along the right of ways, which is exactly where he’s not supposed to be.
Officers handed him a warning and reminded him to only cross at the designated crosswalks and never walk along a railroad.
Walking along the train tracks is considered trespassing because they are owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad.
The dog-walker got a warning but typically a first offense comes with a $300 fine.
A second offense is considered a misdemeanor which could mean jail time.
A third offense is a level 6 felony which not only means jail time but also a $1,000 fine.
The officers also want to remind everyone, to look and listen before crossing a train track.