Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Transit agencies holding events for Rail Safety Week

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Caltrain Conductor Jessie with Reginald the Safety Gorilla promoting rail safety during Rail Safety Week. Caltrain Conductor Jessie with Reginald the Safety Gorilla promoting rail safety during Rail Safety Week. Caltrain/Twitter

Transit agencies around the United States are taking part in the first U.S. Rail Safety Week to support the efforts of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), and promote safe behavior around rail property.


The entire rail industry, including Class 1 railroads, Amtrak and law enforcement, is uniting during the week of Sept. 24-30 to spread the rail safety message.

According to OLI, the focus for Wednesday, September 27, will be crossing safety, with events and ads to promote awareness of the Emergency Notification System (ENS) signs posted near all railroad crossings. The signs have an 800-number to call to report vehicles stuck on the tracks, signal malfunctions or other issues.

Many of the transit agencies across the country have week-long events scheduled, a sample of what is planned follows.

California has declared September "Rail Safety Month" in the state. This year, Caltrain conducted two rail safety education outreaches in Burlingame and Palo Alto, where the agency has experienced multiple incidents over the last few years, such as collisions and near misses.

Both events were held concurrently on Tuesday, Sept. 26, during the morning commute hours. At Broadway in Burlingame, safety staff and law enforcement were on-hand to educate pedestrians and drivers about safe behavior around railroad tracks. In Palo Alto, rail safety teams from Caltrain and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority had a rail safety table set-up at the Palo Alto station to inform commuters about staying safe near the tracks.

Caltrain also notes that it has been making safety improvements to grade crossings in the past year that have included installing roadway medians in front of gate arms, painting new pavement markings and improving signage.

The agency mentions that safety is a year-round commitment, which includes a program that focuses on the "Three E's" of railroad safety – Education, Engineering and Enforcement.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
SEPTA's participation in Rail Safety Week is an extension of its Safety Blitz education program, which includes monthly visits to stations by SEPTA safety officers and police officers.

SEPTA plans to conduct Safety Blitzes at several SEPTA Regional Rail stations, as well as a week-long education and social media campaign.

TriMet is reminding customers that safe practices take a short amount of time to integrate and can be as simple as hitting a "pause" button.

"We love our technology. But sometimes those tweets, likes and updates can be distracting. Whether caught up in your phone, hunkered down under an umbrella or just feeling impatient, safety takes just a few seconds. As part of the first ever U.S. Rail Safety Week, launched by Operation Lifesaver, TriMet reminds you to pause those distractions, follow signals and take a moment to be alert and aware when walking, biking and driving across train tracks," the agency said in a statement.

Utah Transit Authority (UTA)
UTA has a events planned all wee that include UTA police and other departments near rail stations and tracks, a rail safety booth (with freebies) at the Layton Fire Safety Fair, a community outreach event at North Temple Station and Central Pointe Station and a "Red Out for Rail Safety" night at area varsity football games to share safety reminders.