MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- From a distance, it's hard to tell just how fast a freight train is moving, but up close, you hear the wheels screeching against the tracks as it zooms by. Red lights and bells blaring, warning people to stay back. They can hit speeds of 55 miles per hour and it takes more than a mile of distance to come to a complete stop, making its path dangerous for anyone caught in it.
"Expect a train on any track, at any time, in any direction," said Tim Souza, senior special agent Union Pacific Police.
Union Pacific Police along with Madera Police are working together to prevent tragedy. They are patrolling a busy intersection on Cleveland and Gateway in Madera. Three roads meet here and railroad tracks cut through all of it.
"We are trying to enforce and let people know that when you are crossing the tracks, you have to make sure that you are following all laws," said Souza.
From a distance policed watched as some motorists ignored the dangers. Many of them stopped past the double stripped lines, just inches away from the railroad tracks. Officers pulled over violators at least eight were cited.
"They do park on the railroad tracks, unintentionally, but unfortunately they are putting themselves in harm's way by doing so," said Brent Cederquist Corporal with the Madera Police Department. "It is up to us to get out there and help."
The operation is part of U-P CARES a program through Union Pacific to enforce and educate the public about railroad safety.
Union Pacific and Madera Police conduct railroad safety operation