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Trespassing on railroad tracks is dangerous and illegal, NCTD reminds

The SPRINTER rail line runs between Escondido and Oceanside.
NCTD
A SPRINTER train is shown in this undated photo in San Diego County, Calif.

The North County Transit District Thursday issued a reminder to the public that trespassing on railroad tracks is dangerous and illegal, and teams of San Diego County Sheriff's deputies will conduct "focused trespasser mitigation enforcement" along the transit district's railroad right-of-way.

According to the NCTD, an average of 12 people die each year due to illegally crossing or walking on NCTD's railroad tracks. According to a district statement, in addition to this tragic loss of life, trespasser incidents significantly impact the mental health of railroad employees and first responders and are disruptive to rail operations.

Spring and summer typically see increased trespassing activity and incidents, particularly on weekends. The problem is further enhanced by the increased frequencies of Coaster service during warmer months.

"Crossing the railroad tracks is dangerous and illegal," NCTD Executive Director Matthew Tucker said. "Enforcement of trespassing laws is intended to deter unsafe and illegal crossings and increase public awareness about the dangers of crossing the tracks."

The agency uses a combination of education, enforcement and engineering to reduce trespassing risk. The district has requested the support of all cities in its service area to help educate members of the community and visitors about the dangers of railroad trespassing and its enforcement measures.

Deputies patrol the train tracks on four-wheel vehicles and focus on areas that have experienced the most trespassing incidents. They may issue warnings and/or citations. Citations include fines that could range from $50 to $400, plus court costs.