Wednesday, November 04, 2009

KCSR partners with Operation Lifesaver, LADOTD, MDOT

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KCSR partners with Operation Lifesaver, LADOTD, MDOT | Railway Track & Structures

Public safety around railroad operations is best promoted when there is participation from everyone involved. In public-private partnerships with Operation Lifesaver, the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, The Kansas City Southern Railway Company is doing its part to promote safety at public grade crossings for motorists, pedestrians and the railroad operation.

KCSR is a staunch supporter of OL, a non-profit organization designed to end tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad right-of-ways and its principles of engineering, education and enforcement.

In 2004, KCSR and MDOT began a five-year, $10-million corridor project, upgrading warning levels or closing public, at-grade railroad crossings on the KCSR-operated line from Vicksburg to Meridian, Miss. Another $1.8 million has been invested in upgrading crossing surfaces.

To date, KCSR and MDOT have installed 44 sets of flashers/gates and closed 13 crossings with others scheduled. The project calls for three more to receive flashers/gates, and two more to receive renewed crossbucks, reflective striping and KCSR emergency contact information.

The transition of more crossings to flashers and gates, combined with the crossing closures, is making a significant public safety statement across the line. The closures alone reduce the potential for collisions on the KCSR-operated line in Mississippi by almost 125,000 per year.

In 2006, KCSR and LADOTD began a five-year, $16.6-million corridor project, upgrading warning levels or closing public, at-grade railroad crossings, covering 375 miles of track that stretch from Shreveport, La., east to the Mississippi state line along the I-20 corridor; south to DeQuincy, La., along U.S. 171; and north to the Arkansas state line.

To date, KCSR and LADOTD have installed 30 sets of flashers/gates with 31 more scheduled, and closed 16 crossings with two more scheduled. The project calls for other crossings to receive renewed crossbucks, reflective striping and KCSR emergency contact information.

The transition of more crossings to flashers and gates is having the same effect in Louisiana. Crossing closures are already reducing opportunities the potential for collisions on KCSR-operated lines in Louisiana by over 125,000 per year.

Both Mississippi and Louisiana have OL programs that provide educational opportunities to help prevent collisions and trespassing on railroad property. OL presentations are given by volunteers who present basic grade crossing safety information to all age groups, industry, law enforcement, emergency responders and school bus/professional drivers. A number of these volunteers in Mississippi and Louisiana are KCSR employees.

KCSR and OL support active enforcement of traffic laws relating to crossing signs and signals and private property laws related to trespassing. KCSR and OL actively contact area law enforcement and emergency responder agencies and training academies to offer free Rail Safety for Emergency Responder training and Grade Crossing Collision and Trespass prevention training.

KCSR also partners with local law enforcement to conduct Officer on a Train events. Officer on a Train events were recently conducted in Baton Rouge and Bossier City.

Regardless of whether a crossing is public or private or what type of warning is in place, motorists and pedestrians are urged to always expect a train. In addition, pedestrians are urged to stay off railroad rights-of-way. Do not walk along the track or trespass on railroad rights-of-way, and only cross the tracks at designated crossings.

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