Stay off the tracks: 9 people hit by trains in Eugene since 2010

Stay off the tracks: 9 people hit by trains in Eugene since 2010

EUGENE, Ore. - Walking along railroad tracks is not only illegal: it can be deadly.

A train hit and killed a 13-year-old boy in Gervais Tuesday night.

The boy died instantly.

Trains can travel up to 79 mph with momentum that makes them slow to stop.

"By the time the conductor sees a person on the rail, it's too late to stop the train," said Rick Little with the Oregon DOT. "The main thing is: use common sense. Don't walk along the rail lines."

Police in Eugene said people walking along railroad tracks is a problem downtown.

Signs and fences haven't stopped people from putting their own lives in danger.

And the act of walking on the tracks isn't just dangerous: it's illegal. The offense: criminal trespass.

"You could be sentenced to a year in jail and face up to a $6,200 fine," Little said.

Since 2010, there have been 8 pedestrian-train crashes and 1 bicycle-train crash in Eugene, police said.

All 9 of those collision could have been avoided by crossing at designated spots "where it's clearly marked and clearly approved for either a pedestrian crossing or a vehicle crossing," Little said. "That's the only safe place that a person can cross the railroad."