The Keystone Whistle-Stop Safety Train starts in Delaware on June 23 and by June 26, the train will have transited through communities such as Harrington, Dover, Newark, Pottstown, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Lewistown, Altoona and Latrobe.
Since January 2011, Delaware has experienced 17 train versus vehicle incidents at highway-rail grade crossings and one pedestrian has been struck.
Over the same period, Pennsylvania has experienced 185 train versus vehicle incidents. Between January and March 2014 alone, 21 incidents have occurred, compared with nine during the same period in 2013. During this decade in Pennsylvania, 108 people have died while trespassing on railroad property and another 102 were injured.
"There is no more important time than now for public safety officials and entire communities to learn how people can stay safe and alive around railroad tracks and other property," said Cayela Wimberly, NS' grade crossing safety director.
"We need a strong partnership between the railroad companies and the communities to keep the public safe near railroad tracks, bridges, yards and grade crossings," added Thomas Algatt, state coordinator for Operation Lifesaver in Pennsylvania. "We need parents, educators, neighbors, railfans and friends to spread the word – stay away from tracks, stay away from trains, stay safe and stay alive. And we're going to talk on the Keystone Whistle-Stop Safety Train about how you can have that conversation with the people you care about."
The train includes two NS locomotives with the Operation Lifesaver logo displayed on their flanks, two vintage passenger cars, the NS exhibit car and the NS research and test car. Passengers will include railroaders, Operation Lifesaver representatives, public safety advocates and news media, all of who will observe via live video the train crew's point-of-view as the train moves on the track and approaches grade crossings.
It's the third such trip this year for NS and Operation Lifesaver on the NS network. A fourth trip is scheduled in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri later this summer.