In our region you can walk just about anywhere and chances are you'll come across railroad tracks, but now police in one Kanawha County city say they have a growing problem of kids playing on and around the tracks.
Police say these kids are walking into danger.
“By the time the train sees you, it is usually physically impossible for them to stop because of the weight of the train,” W.Va. Operation Lifesaver Ira Baldwin said.
Walking along the tracks resulted in 500 deaths across the country last year. Five were in West Virginia.
“It's just like the equivalent I give. It’s just like walking down the interstate highway. You wouldn't think of doing that because you realize that's a dangerous thing, but a train track is an interstate highway for trains,” Baldwin said.
Police say kids walking on the tracks are a common sight in Dunbar.
“We have had a couple of pedestrian hit over the years. None have been school age children, thank God,” Dunbar Police Chief Earl Whittington said.
It’s so bad, railroad officials asked for their help.
“Nowadays we got so many children that run around with the I-pods, mp3 players. They are not really in tune with what's going on around them. They are kind of in the music and in that point, I believe it would be very easy to neglect an approaching train,” Chief Whittington said.
“Railroad properties are private property. It is not just dangerous, it's also against the law,” Baldwin said.
It’s advice police want people to heed before it's too late. Dunbar police are stepping up their patrols around the railroad tracks. They also plan to pass out railroad safety information pamphlets at area schools.