The number of people dying by train is on the rise in North Carolina. In 2012, the Federal Railroad Administration reports 18 train-related fatalities statewide. Just three months into 2013 and train fatalities for North Carolina have already hit 11. Three were people in cars that ended up on the tracks.
The rest, says North Carolina Rail Division Director Paul Worley, were people on foot.
"We have seen people with headphones on that didn't turn around; we've seen people look at the train as it comes to them; we've seen people sit on the rail," says Worley. "It's just all different ways, all different types of people."
A month ago, two teenagers lay in front of a train passing through south Charlotte in an apparent suicide. Worley says the reason for the increase in train-related deaths is unclear, but the state is stepping up efforts to educate the public about the dangers of walking on the tracks.
In the last decade, Worley notes the number of vehicles colliding with trains in North Carolina is down by half as a result of better public awareness and crossing barriers that are harder to skirt when a train is coming.