Railroad Malfunction Causes Safety Hazard At Tulsa Train Crossing

Monday, October 23rd 2017, 5:11 pm
By: News On 6

Drivers say they waited nearly an hour to get around railroad caution arms at 51st and Highway 169 Monday morning.

Others took the risk and drove around them.

Union Pacific Railroad controls most of the tracks around Tulsa.

Railroad representatives said a break on the track interrupted the signal, causing the malfunction.

Cell phone video filmed at 51st and Highway 169 shows a line of cars waiting in front of the railroad crossing arms.

But to the right, there's another line of cars hopping the curb, cutting through the grass and driving right over the tracks.

"Is it worth you and your family to gain those few minutes going around that? You're risking a lot," said Tulsa Fire Captain Stan May.

Around 8 a.m. Monday, drivers ended up being stuck there for 45 minutes. 

May said he's seen the devastation left behind when a train and car collide.

"The chances aren't very good if you're in it when that train hits you just the sheer mass and how fast that train is going the devastation is going to be considerable," May said.

The arms were down, but a train never came.

Crews were dispatched to the scene to fix the signal and make repairs after someone called the number listed on the tracks and gave the dispatcher the crossing ID number. 

The blue signs are posted at every crossing.

Union Pacific encourages drivers to call even if they think someone already called.

This time, everyone made it across safely.

But May said when you venture off the road like that you're risking your life.

"But you are going onto an uneven surface and those things are laid on gravel so the potential of you getting hung up on that is pretty high," May said.

On top of the safety concerns it is illegal to go around the caution arms.

It's just like violating any other road signal. You can be ticketed if you're caught.