September is Rail Safety Month in California, and September 20-26, 2020 is Rail Safety Week across the nation. Every three hours in the U.S. there is an incident involving a train and a person or vehicle. These incidents happen too often and are preventable. First and foremost, we remind all riders and pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings by looking both ways when at a rail crossing. Rail safety is a team effort. We are doing our part to decrease rail-related accidents and save lives through education outreach and enforcement efforts.
To encourage safe behavior near tracks and to reduce incidents across our rail system, we ask everyone to join us and do their part to share safety tips. Each week Metrolink will promote rail safety messages at our stations and on social media:
- Always look both ways before crossing railroad tracks
- Look both ways before crossing, a train can come from either direction at any time
- Stop Track Tragedies, look both ways near railroad tracks
- If a train goes by, look both ways again before crossing tracks
Raising public awareness about the dangers of failing to comply with railroad safety laws is a critical step in preventing railroad-related deaths and injuries. Metrolink has partnered with L.A. County Sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau to facilitate directed enforcements throughout the system during rail safety month. These enforcements will take place every Wednesday morning in September:
September 9, 2020: San Fernando Valley (Antelope Valley Line)
September 16, 2020: Santa Ana Area (Orange Line)
September 23, 2020: Norwalk Area (Orange Line)
September 30, 2020: Riverside Area (Riverside Line)
Below are some safety tips everyone should keep in mind while near a train track:
- Red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing and do not cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing.
- Stay alert around railroad tracks. Don’t text or use headphones, and do avoid other distractions that would prevent you from hearing an approaching train.
- Lives are at stake. Vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians walking on tracks account for 95 percent of all rail-related deaths. Almost all of these deaths are preventable. Don’t become a statistic. Be aware of railroad tracks and crossing gates when walking or driving.
- More than 50 percent of people who die while walking on railroad tracks have alcohol or drugs in their system. Always make responsible decisions with your safety in mind.
- By the time a locomotive engineer sees a person or vehicle on the tracks it’s too late. It takes the average train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile to stop. Don’t try to beat a train. They are approaching faster than it seems.
Ever stop to consider the dangers involved with walking on railroad tracks? It's illegal and potentially deadly. The Only Thing that Belongs On a Track is a Train!
Dangerous behaviors by drivers, bicyclists & pedestrians can mean life or death at railroad crossings & along tracks. There are many victims in these incidents, including locomotive engineers & train crews.
Mark Kalina, Jr. talks about what happened to him one day that forever changed his outlook on life.
Safety is at the heart of Metrolink’s daily operations and our dedication to provide safe and reliable service goes beyond the month of September. Visit metrolinktrains.com/safety to learn more about our various initiatives.
STAY SAFE – SIX THINGS TO KNOW
- Eyes Up. Look and Listen.
Look both ways and listen before crossing the tracks. Expect a train at any time and from either direction.
- Eyes Up. Phone Down.
Avoid dangerous distractions such as texting, loud music or headphones that would prevent you from hearing an approaching train.
- Stand Back. Look Around.
Always stay behind the line at train stations. Enter or exit a station platform at designated areas.
- Keep Out. Stay Away.
Train tracks, bridges and yards are private property. Never walk, bike, skateboard or run on or along the tracks; it’s illegal and dangerous. Cross only at designated rail crossings.
- Stop and Wait.
Don't ever try to "beat" a train. An approaching train is closer and moving faster than you think. Wait until the gates are up and lights have stopped flashing, they may be down for a train approaching in the other direction.
- See Something? Say Something.
To report suspicious packages, activity, persons and/or security concerns, call or text Metrolink’s Security Operations Center at (866) 640-5190. If you witness or experience criminal or life-threatening situations, dial 911.
As a passenger, and even as a motorist, there are specific things that you can do to help us achieve our commitment to making sure that everyone who interacts with our trains does so safely:
Since September 2015, all railroad lines nationwide were required to post Emergency Notification System (ENS) signs at every public and private railroad crossing. The requirement was established by the Federal Railroad Administration to make reporting problems and emergencies impacting railroads easier.
The ENS signs are blue and white, provide an emergency phone number and a railroad crossing ID number so that drivers or pedestrians who notice problems on the tracks can help stop a train before an incident occurs. The signs are in close proximity to the crossings and will be visible to the first car stopped at a crossing when they look through their right passenger window. Every approach to a railroad crossing must have an ENS sign.
These signs can be used to report things such as suspicious activity on the tracks, stalled vehicles or a warning device malfunction.
If your vehicle ever stalls on tracks, immediately evacuate your car and call the number listed on the ENS sign at the crossing.
- Always pay attention to announcements made by the train crew.
- Always use the handrail when boarding and leaving the train. Please watch your step.
- Always hold the handrail when climbing or descending the stairs on board the train or at the station.
- Always use the set handholds when standing or moving with the train car.
- Once onboard the train familiarize yourself with the emergency exits and emergency procedures poster.
- Always collect all of your belongings and move toward the exit as soon as your station stop is announced.
- Never lean on the doors or hold them open.
- Never put your hands or any objects between closing doors.
- Never run on or toward the station platform.
- Always wait behind the line while standing on the platform. Do not cross the line until the train is stopped and the doors open.
- Train stops are brief; board immediately.
- Pay attention to any audible/visual announcements from station message boards regarding delays, warnings, or other information.
- We ask that passengers requiring boarding assistance wait at the top of the access ramp located at the end of the platform.
- Always cross tracks at a designated crossing.
- Always look both ways before crossing train tracks.
- Never stop your vehicle on the tracks.
- Always expect a train, on any track, at any time and from any direction.
- Never cross the tracks when the signal indicates that a train is coming. Flashing lights and ringing bells mean STOP and wait for the train to pass. NEVER walk under or around pedestrian gates.
- If your car stalls or stops on the crossing for any reason, get yourself and any passengers out and away quickly.
- Either underneath the crossbuck sign or on the silver bungalow (box) located near the crossing, you can find information about the street name, railroad milepost number, Department of Transportation identification number and letter (“DOT 123456X”), and an emergency phone number to report safety or security issues at a crossing.
- Remember that approaching trains are always closer and moving faster than they appear. Always yield the right-of-way to a train.
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
There is an AED located on board every Metrolink train operating systemwide. An AED is a portable electronic device that automatically can diagnose certain life-threatening cardiac conditions and can treat them through the application of electricity. To view the Red Cross AED demonstration video, click here.
Increasing the awareness of the potential dangers that exist at highway-rail grade crossings is an integral component of our safety education program. Therefore, we partner with Operation Lifesaver to maximize our impact on preventing highway rail grade crossing collision and trespass prevention.
Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on rail property through a nationwide network of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety.
Operation Lifesaver regularly provides speakers on railroad safety to visit with community groups, motorists, emergency responders, schools and professional drivers. To request a speaker, please use Metrolink's Safety Speaker Request Form or visit California Operation Lifesaver (http://www.caol.us/)
Incident Reduction Task Force
The Incident Reduction Task Force (IRTF) meets regularly to share data and analyze risk with a mission to reduce railroad ROW incidents in Southern California through community partners’ collaboration, focusing on long-term solutions. The IRTF combines the resources and expertise of Authority staff, local law enforcement, social services, and Member Agencies to develop mitigation strategies to assist in preventing incidents.