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Railroad employee warns of shortcut during Harwood repairs

May 17, 2010

Since the Harwood pedestrian bridge closed for repairs, people have been taking risks by cutting across the railroad tracks outside of marked crossings.

Not only is that practice unsafe, it's also illegal, said Steve Rhode of the Canadian Pacific Railroad Police Department.

"We want to make people aware it is trespassing," he said. "We've stopped and warned a lot of trespassers in the past few weeks."

Walking over railroad or along tracks outside of marked crossings can carry a municipal fine of $160, Rhode said.

Most of the people are unaware they are breaking a law or they didn't see much harm in a quick "shortcut" across the tracks, Rhode said. But when Rhode sees people riding or carrying bicycles or pushing baby strollers over the tracks, he gets very concerned about people's safety.

One Amtrak engineer has reported a large group of kids - possibly a track team or running group - cross the tracks about 4 p.m. daily.

Rhode wants pedestrians to go the little extra distance and go to the marked crossing at 72nd and State streets.

"It isn't that far when you think of the danger they're placing themselves in," he said.

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