CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - After a man was struck by a train while trespassing on the tracks last night, Amtrak Police are out patrolling the areas where they say people frequently cross.
The man was injured, but Amtrak detectives say crossing the tracks could be a lot more deadly now that a newer, faster line will begin service tomorrow.
We were out here earlier today with Amtrak Police looking for trespassers.
This area is close to Chicopee Comp High School and no students tried crossing while our cameras were rolling, though police tell us they stopped a few middle school students after we left.
You can see there's a well-worn path where people forge across anyway, and, with a new train beginning service tomorrow, Amtrak Police say it'll only increase the chances that a potential trespasser could get killed.
"You know you can't cut through here?" asked Detective Robert Hanson.
Only one person was caught this afternoon approaching the train tracks on Bolduc Road.
Though he didn't actually cross, Amtrak Police say this area is a common spot for illegal trespassing, which is why they stop people before they even come close.
"We're trying to change people's behavior and I think that's the most important thing," Hanson tells us.
Hanson says this education is the first slap on the wrist before they have to slap on the cuffs.
"Trespassing on the railroad tracks is an arrestable offense in Massachusetts, so a complaint would be filed with the district court and then you'd have a complaint hearing at that point," stated Hanson.
The man who was struck by the train Wednesday night was trying to cross these tracks here by Exchange Street.
Detectives tell us this is just another one of the hot spots they're watching and that this was the fourth time this year a person had been struck while trying to cross
"The individual was transported to the hospital he was also charged criminally for trespassing on the railroad tracks," said Hanson.
With the Valley Flyer Service beginning on Friday, Hanson says the trains will do just that, fly by at speeds of up to 79 m.p.h.
While there used to only be a couple trains on that track per day, now...
"You're going to see eight additional trains. You're going to see increased passenger service," continued Hanson.
Hanson says the biggest takeaway should be to abandon the pre-conceived notion that you can make it across in time.
"The engineer has zero reaction time from that curve to where we're standing now before they see something in front of them," added Hanson.
And when it comes to the idea of trespassing, Hanson says you don't have to be right on the tracks to get charged.
He says the property lines are different in each location, but that people should stay between 25-30 feet away from either side of the tracks to be safe.