Union Pacific Locomotive Engineer Encourages Public to Stay Alert at Railroad Crossings

Engineer Mel Doughty with blue and white emergency sign. | L

Locomotive Engineer Mel Doughty aims to ensure the public never “unsees” the blue and white emergency signs posted at every railroad crossing.

More than 95% of rail-related fatalities are preventable, an Association of American Railroads statistic that motivates Union Pacific Railroad Locomotive Engineer Mel Doughty to promote highway-rail grade crossing safety at every opportunity.

Drawing on his military experience as a safety officer in field artillery, Doughty joined Operation Lifesaver (OLI) and Union Pacific’s Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety program, known as UP CARES, to encourage safe behavior around railroad tracks.

“If we can get the public to pause and think about safe choices when they see train tracks, I am positive we can continue to reduce crossing accidents,” said Doughty, who aims to raise awareness among the railroad’s customers and local communities.

Medium | RMCC emergency number sign.

The blue emergency notification sign is posted at each railroad crossing.

Doughty and his OLI team attend Wyoming events such as Cheyenne Frontier Days, Safe Kids Day and Depot Days, educating citizens on the importance of emergency notification signage at grade crossings. In 2023, Doughty delivered more than 75 rail safety presentations reaching more than 27,000 pedestrians, motorists and professional truck drivers.

In Laramie, Wyoming, up to 80 customer trucks per day travel over three busy railroad mainlines. Cheyenne’s OLI volunteers regularly conduct safety presentations at local truck-driving schools and customer locations, emphasizing the potential risks associated with driving and working around railroad tracks.

“The goal is for professional drivers to understand their actions not only affect their own lives, but the lives of so many others,” Doughty said.

Mel Doughty shares rail safety with Wyoming truck drivers. | M

Doughty shares his rail safety knowledge with Wyoming truck drivers.

“Most people have never noticed the blue and white emergency sign posted at every public crossing,” Doughty said. “We make it a team goal – by the end of the presentation, participants will never be able to unsee them.”

Doughty recently presented materials to students at SAGE Truck Driving Schools.

“The commitment Mel exhibits makes the presentation outstanding,” said Mike Smith, director, SAGE Truck Driving Schools. “Union Pacific is blessed to have such a loyal and dedicated employee, and we are just as blessed to have him as a friend.”

Visit to download rail safety PSAs and find additional rail safety information and links to Union Pacific’s rail safety partners. To learn more about Operation Lifesaver or become a volunteer, visit

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