People from the oil and gas industry, trucking companies, public safety employees and others climbed aboard Union Pacific's Heritage Fleet for a round trip from Odessa to Midland and back. The passenger rail cars date back to the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
On Tuesday’s ride, the train went about 50 miles per hour at times, passing through crossings in Odessa and Midland.
The purpose of the 40 mile round trip was public safety.
“You get a different perspective when you’re on the railroad as opposed to when you’re in your vehicle at a crossing,” said Clint Schelbitzki of Union Pacific.
Union Pacific wants drivers to always expect a train at each crossing.
“We’re really trying to pass along the safety message that you should stop, look and listen every time you approach crossings,” Schelbitzki said.
Julie Bridges is with the Odessa College Truck Driving School.
"There’s been a lot of truck train crashes. We take it very serious. Safety is very serious," she said.
She brought some of her students to experience the ride for safety’s sake.
Bridges students first showed her the video from last week’s crash, when a semi hauling pipe got stuck on a crossing.
"Terrible that that happened," she said, "but awesome that the guys caught it on film to show you exactly what happens and the momentum of the load, all the pipe that goes flying. It’s a miracle no one got hurt."
Bridges teaches her students that nothing is more important than safety.
"If in doubt, don’t cross that track.," Bridges said. "I tell them, you know what, just find another crossing. There’s another one. Just keep going parallel to the track and eventually you’ll find another one. ”
If you do find yourself stuck on the tracks over a crossing, Union Pacific says there’s a phone number at every crossing that you should call. That will alert dispatch to stop the train.
For more information on railroad safety, visit www.upcares.com.