THE CASE FOR RAILROAD AWARENESS. Winnebago County first-responders received 911 calls advising them of a washed-out railroad track at Mulford Road.

[Sheriff Dick] Meyers said Sgt. Aaron Booker was working in the county’s 911 center Friday night and was notified of four 911 calls regarding a possible washout of the railroad tracks near Sandy Hollow and South Mulford roads. The calls came into Rockford’s communication center and county 911 center at about 8 p.m.

Booker sent a squad to the scene to inspect the washout and made two phone calls, Meyers said. One call went to the Union Pacific Railroad and the other to Canadian National Railway.

Those are the two companies that have tracks running through the area where residents had reported seeing a lot of standing water and water running under the railroad tracks indicating the earth and gravel holding the rail ties in place had been washed away.

It's useful for people who live close to tracks to know what the tracks are supposed to look like, in order to recognize when something doesn't look right that there's a potential emergency. It's also useful for the railroads to treat train enthusiasts as additional spotters of emergencies, rather than as potential security threats. The railroads are not yet telling the press how quickly they alerted train crews to the situation.

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