Permian Basin Railroads See More Accidents Than More Populated Cities

- ODESSA -- Odessa has now seen at least two deadly train pedestrian accidents in less than two months. 

"It's very easy to get stuck on the railroad tracks in this area whereas other areas like Dallas, Forth Worth they have better grade crossings," said James Beauchamp, president of the Midland Odessa Transportation Alliance.

According to Beauchamp, there are two common factors when looking at train accidents. 

One, most of them are with impaired drivers, and two, most of the accidents are from industrial traffic. 

"We have a number of tremendous accidents occur here as opposed to even more heavily populated and traveled areas," Beauchamp said. 

However, Beauchamp tells me in a study done last year, there was a 50-percent decrease in train accidents in the Permian Basin as opposed to the year before. 

According to Beauchamp, between 30 to 35 trains travel through the Permian Basin each day. 

"These trains have literally, millions of tons of freight coming down through Midland and Odessa each and every day," Beauchamp said. 

And with trains carrying all that weight, Beauchamp says it could take a train up to a mile to come to a full stop. 

If you're driving through some railroad tracks and find yourself stuck, there's another number to call besides 911. And you can may even get a faster response time.

That number is 1-888-877-7267. 

The number goes to the Union Pacific railroad switching center, where a train can be shut down. 

"It'll be a lot faster than waiting for the train to get to a point where it can see the obstruction."

However, if your vehicle gets stuck on some railroad tracks, Beauchamp says to get out and run in the direction of the train. 

It's a way to ensure that you won't get hit if a train strikes your vehicle. 

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