TriMet's WES Commuter Rail engineers see pedestrians and even vehicles disregard crossing arms and signs or cross where prohibited every day.
It’s illegal and unsafe. An 80-ton WES train traveling at 60 miles per hour takes a half a mile, the length of nine football fields, to stop.
Dangerous behavior by pedestrians tends to increase in the summer months when more people are out and about, TriMet notes. The Transit Police Division officers conduct safety missions along the WES Line to enforce no trespassing in the right-of-way and educate pedestrians about the risks of trying to beat the train.
While the only train strike fatality on the WES system in the past year was a suicide, the number of pedestrians killed in railroad trespassing incidents nationwide rose in 2012 to the highest level in six years: 442 people were killed and 405 more injured.
TriMet highlights numerous ways to stay safe around tracks: don’t trespass on private property including railroad tracks; do not walk, bike or play on the tracks or on railroad bridges; don’t cross the tracks at unregulated crossings or in front of an approaching train; don’t speed through intersections as crossing gates are coming down and always obey railroad signage and warning devices.
The 14.7-mile WES line operates weekday rush hour service connecting Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville in a 27-minute commute. WES travels an average 37 mph with a maximum of 60 mph.