Train safety in focus

Operation Lifesaver, a national non-profit public safety education organization dedicated to preventing fatalities and injuries at crossings and along railways, made its way through Seneca County Tuesday morning.

Seneca County Sheriff Bill Eckelberry and deputy Denny Wilkinson were in the area when the Norfolk Southern train passed through Bellevue around 10:30 a.m.

The train, which left Cleveland Tuesday morning and made its way to Marion in the afternoon, was on the lookout for traffic violations at railroad crossings and for trespassers along railways, Eckelberry said. He and Wilkinson served as lookouts on the ground for traffic violators and trespassers.

No violations were found in Seneca County, he said.

Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Steve Friday said the train carried a variety of public safety officials as its passengers Tuesday. According to a release from Operation Lifesaver, the passengers were able to witness violations from a train engineer’s perspective through a live feed TV monitor. To catch violators, an officer on the train also was in radio contact with chase vehicles on the ground and aviation support provided by the State Highway Patrol. Ticketed motorists or trespassers could face fines of up to $250 and a maximum of 30 days in jail, according to the release.

Friday said no violations were observed in any of the 10 counties covered on Tuesday’s route.

According to the release, the Norfolk Southern train is scheduled to cross five states during its five-day run.