Faster Trains

If you're home is next to a railroad crossing a certain sound means you're about to hear a train, if you're in your car, it means you'll have to wait on one. And some choose to chance it. "In 2005 we had a tremendous number of incidents where people have been injured or killed crossing railroad crossings" said Lt. Lawrence McLeary with Louisiana State Police Those numbers have started to decline in 2006, but to further distance Louisiana from the top five states Governor Kathleen Blanco has announced "Operation Lifesaver". "She is emploring the people of this state to care of themselves and exercise precaution: said Col. James Champagne, the executive Director of Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. Trying to keep up with what it calls a much higher freight demand, Union Pacific has increased speed in South Shreveport from forty to seventy miles per hour.  "Seventy seems a little excessive" said Jeff Rolow, a Baird Road resident. While most of the states train versus motor vehicle collisions are attributed to driver inattention and carelessness, neighbors on Baird Road say they don't want trains going seventy miles an hour past their house.  "I got two little girls and I'd be afraid for them if they were to get out on the side of the road and that trian come by that fast" said Rolow. Union Pacific says it would be safer for drivers, because the less time a train takes to cross, the less likely an impatient driver would be to take a chance. Which would also cut down on traffic, a prospect some neighbors of the track welcome. "So your ok with the increased speed, it might help with traffic? Yes sir". In 2005, twenty people died in Louisiana from train collisions. "The bottom line is the train doesn't leave the track to hit you" said Champaign.