Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), is spearheading the inaugural Rail Safety Week (RSW) in the U.S. Sept. 24-30. Class 1s are supporting the focus on rail safety with their own efforts throughout the week.
According to OLI, While the number of highway-rail crossing collisions, deaths and injuries has dropped over the past five decades, it’s still a startling fact that about every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train. OLI says the goal of RSW is to raise awareness across the United States of the need for rail safety education and empower the general public to keep themselves safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way.
Canadian National (CN) is inviting the public to take an online safety pledge at mysafetypledge.com, which asks people to share rail safety tips in their community, talk about rail safety at their local schools or report unsafe behavior around trains or railway property. Additionally, members of the CN Police and Risk Mitigation Service will conduct more than 60 scheduled safety initiatives, enforcement blitzes and community events at commuter stations and grade crossings across its U.S. network.
“Trespassing fatalities along railway tracks are entirely preventable, and tragedies at railway level crossings can be avoided by simply obeying crossing signals,” said Stephen Covey, chief of police and chief security officer at CN.
Canadian Pacific (CP) launched its own safety program, CP RailSense, with a simple goal: encourage safe behavior around tracks and trains and eliminate injuries and fatalities. CP wants to boost situational awareness around the railroad through education, targeted communications and outreach. The Class 1 will also participate in enforcement and public awareness events in New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota. Outreach efforts include presentations to students, speaking to patrons of businesses close to tracks, enforcement efforts at grade crossings and media events.
CSX plans network-wide outreach including crossing safety blitzes, safety presentations for first responders and community members, college campus engagement and more. There will also be events that focus specifically on truck driver and commuter rail education.
CSX notes that a key partner of its safety message is Wide Angle Youth Media, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that provides youth with media education and opportunities for compelling storytelling. Two new rail safety videos, created by students in the program, are debuting during Rail Safety Week on csx.com/railsafetystories.
Union Pacific (UP) plans outreach events during the week that include Crossing Accident Reduction, Education and Safety (UPCARES) events with law enforcement officers who monitor driver behavior at railroad crossings from inside a Union Pacific locomotive.
“Rail Safety Week participation will help raise awareness about the importance of drivers and pedestrians using caution anytime they approach railroad crossings,” said Rod Doerr, Union Pacific vice president – Safety. “We care about our communities and urge everyone to slow down, look both ways and stop for approaching trains to prevent accidents.”