A Binghamton-based locomotive engineer has worked for years to encourage pedestrians and motorists to be careful around railroad tracks.

Harold Brill regularly guides freight trains from Binghamton to Harrisburg. He's been an engineer for about 15 years.

Brill frequently makes presentations to area groups as part of the industry's Operation Lifesaver program.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Brill said people often don't appreciate how big and heavy trains are. He said it's difficult for pedestrians or motorists to accurately gauge how fast a train is traveling.

Brill said some people may perceive a train traveling 50 miles per hour as moving much more slowly.

Brill said trains cannot stop quickly. Even if an engineer spots a person or a vehicle on the railroad tracks, it could take a mile or more before the train can be halted.

Tracks are private property and people who walk along them can be charged with trespassing.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Brill said people shouldn't assume they'll be able to hear a train coming because trains run quieter than in the past.

Parents should teach children about railroad safety and stress the importance of not taking shortcuts across tracks.

Motorists should always expect a train when approaching railroad tracks and obey signals. Drivers should not go around a crossing gate, even if they believe there's no train approaching.

There's more information about the Operation Lifesaver program at its website.