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Watch Those Rail Crossings

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Watch Those Rail Crossings

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 13, 2008

Rail Crossing

Woodstock installed warning signs at many of our railroad crossings earlier this year, alerting motorists and pedestrians to a $250 fine for crossing while the gates, lights and/or bells were in operation. Trains have been kind of hard on cars during the past two weeks in Illinois, and perhaps a reminder will help some who are tempted to make a run for it.

Thursday I watched a driver "gun" it as the gates started down, passing under the gate just before it reached the roof of his SUV. He wasn't in immediate danger of getting hit by the train, because gates go down before the train crosses the roadway. Had a police officer been stopped on the roadway beyond, that dumb trick would have cost him $250.

In Fox River Grove they are even more serious about railroad crossings. A similar sign at railroad crossings there warns drivers of a $500 fine. (Click on photo to enlarge it; then hit the Back button on your browser.)

An additional word of caution. After the train passes, wait for the gates to go all the way up and the lights and bells to stop. Sometimes a train coming in the opposite direction will trigger the gates to go back down. The law is - don't cross when the signals are operating.

It won't be just the fine. If you go to McHenry County Traffic Court, you can probably count on about $200 for court costs, in addition to the fine.

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