Posts Tagged ‘railroad safety campaigns’

FRA Launching New Safety Campaign

October 27, 2018

A federal agency is starting an effort on Oct. 30 to reduce deaths and injuries at railroads at grade crossings and due to trespassing.

The Federal Railroad Administration will sponsor a symposium on Oct. 30 featuring federal officials, railroads, safety advocates and the supply industry to discuss what can be done.

The FRA recorded 2,119 grade crossing incidents in 2017 that involved death or injury.

That compared with 1,211 incidents in the first half of 2018.

The agency said there were 1,019 trespassing deaths and injuries in 2017 and 592 from January to July 2018.

“We’ve had tremendous success since the 1970s with reduction of grade crossing accidents. The question is what else can we do going forward?” FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said. “There are 20-plus people dying every week” at grade crossings or while trespassing.”

Batory said experts will review grade crossing project with an eye toward using additional technology to make crossings safer.

He said the technology of grade crossing warning devices has not changed much and still relies on a railroad employee manually inspecting each crossing every month.

The FRA head suggested that railroads use technology to monitor warning devices and to generate automatic report faults that can be repaired before the warning devices fail.

OLI Chapters to Get Federal Grants

July 26, 2018

The Operation Lifesaver chapters in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan are among 16 state units to share in $205,525 in grants being awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Each state will receive awards ranging from $1,800 to $20,000 to be used to pay for railroad safety education projects.

The projects will involve a variety of rail-crossing safety and trespassing prevention public education projects in conjunction with Rail Safety Week, which will be observed Sept. 23-29 in the United States and Canada.

Other states receiving grants included Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and South Dakota.

FRA Head Urges Caution at Crossings

April 19, 2018

The answer to grade crossing safety is pretty easy, the head of the Federal Railroad Administration believes

Ronald Batory

In a newspaper column, Ronald Batory urged motorists and pedestrians to “make safe choices.”

That means watching and listening for signals and not driving around lowered crossing gates.

The column is part of a campaign by the FRA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to raise awareness of grade crossing safety.

The theme of the campaign is “Stop! Trains Can’t.” The campaign got a lot of visibility during radio broadcasts of the recent NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

The campaign is using radio, social media and digital advertising to target areas at higher risk for crossing accidents. A special focus is being provided in states where the most dangerous crossings are located.

Batory wrote in his column that train-vehicle collisions are avoidable, but it’s up to motorists to stop because trains cannot stop quickly.

In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Transportation is working with technology companies to add rail-crossing alerts to mobile applications.

Testing is underway of a system to provide warnings to trains when a vehicle is on the tracks.

DOT is also working with Operation Lifesaver on other rail safety education initiatives to encourage drivers to make safe choices at crossings.

NS Sets 2018 Safety Train Schedule

April 5, 2018

Norfolk Southern will again provide training to first responders through its Operation Awareness & Response program, which sends a training train over the NS network.

The safety train will visit 23 cities in 15 states in 2018 to provide free training to emergency workers about how  to safely respond to a potential rail incident.

The safety train will not be stopping in Northeast Ohio, but will make stops elsewhere in Ohio and surrounding states.

This includes visits on May 15-17 in Fort Wayne, Indiana; May 22-24 in Bellevue; May 30-June 1 in Kenova, West Virginia; June 12-14 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; and Aug. 28-30 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

The consist of the safety train includes a dedicated locomotive, two boxcars converted into classrooms, three tank cars used in transporting all types of chemicals, and two flat cars equipped with intermodal containers and multiple tank car valve arrangements that simulate leaks.

The first training session will be held on April 3 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

At each location, NS hazardous materials specialists lead a four-hour course that combines classroom instruction and hands-on training on a locomotive and rail cars.

First responders will learn about railroad operations, basic safety precautions, initial-response procedures, types of rail equipment and who to contact in an emergency.

Following completion of the course, qualified emergency personnel will be able to download AskRail™, a free mobile application that provides immediate information about rail cars carrying hazardous materials should a rail incident occur.

The safety train is among multiple training opportunities offered by NS annually to first responders, including the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response program,  a national network that promotes the safe transportation and handling of hazardous materials.

The OAR program builds on these efforts by providing additional training opportunities such as classroom seminars, web-based courses, on-line resources, table-top drills and full-scale exercises.

“Our safety train is helping Norfolk Southern build and strengthen relationships with first responders across our network,” said System Manager Hazardous Materials David Schoendorfer. “We want them to be equipped with the tools and resources they need to safely do their jobs when responding to potential rail incidents. It’s all about helping our communities be prepared and safe.”

OLI Creates Program for First Responders

April 4, 2018

Operation Lifesaver has announced the launch of a program oriented toward raising safety awareness for first responders.

The program, known as Rail Safety for First Responders, includes an interactive learning program that OLI said “brings attention to the choices first responders often make around tracks and trains and is intended to help them safely traverse highway-rail intersections.”

In a news release, OLI said that although it can take extra caution to navigate a railroad crossing while heading to an emergency, ambulance drivers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers can mitigate the risk by knowing what to do.

The program was developed with the cooperation of first responders and the e-learning program addresses railroad topics, crossing challenges, safety searches and incident responses.

The Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Highway Administration provided funding for the development of the program.

OLI Launches Campaign for Kids

January 9, 2018

Operation Lifesaver has launched a program aimed at children that is designed to promote safety at railroad grade crossings and rights of ways.

The program is oriented toward students from kindergarten through middle school and includes new materials and trained volunteer speakers.

The theme of the program is Train and the Whateveritwas and it will present key safety messages in an entertaining and engaging format.

“Operation Lifesaver is working to change people’s behavior around railroad tracks and crossings with our educational materials and tips for people of all ages,” said OLI Interim President Wende Corcoran. “Reaching school-aged students with free presentations by our volunteers that are interesting, fun, and that convey lifesaving information is an important part of our multi-faceted approach to reducing those numbers.”

The age-appropriate materials to be used in the program will introduce children to basic safety messages and train attributes, while emphasizing the importance of being cautious around trains and tracks.

The information is presented as a story and divided into grade specific programs.

For students in grades three through five (ages 8-11), the presentation covers general safety messages, signs and signals, and trespass prevention messages using information and interactive games sequences to keep the attention of this age group.

For middle school students, the presentation uses emoji-like characters in a colorful, yearbook-style story line to appeal to smartphone-savvy students.

The presentation covers general safety messages, signs and signals, and trespassing prevention messages.

Corcoran said that the three new educational tools are available for viewing in the kids section of the Operation Lifesaver website

To request a free safety presentation, visit or

OLS Video Warns About Photographing on Tracks

December 3, 2015

Operation Lifesaver released a video this week designed to warn professional photographers about the dangers of taking photographs along railroad tracks.

The video is the first product in a new program initiated by the railroad-based group that seeks to address the risks of using railroad tracks as an impromptu photo studio.

OLS said that thus far in 2015 five deaths have been attributed to photography and filming along railroad tracks in the United States.

OLS President and Chief Executive Officer Joyce Rose said that since 201, there have been 13 deaths and four injuries resulting from these activities.

Preliminary 2014 statistics compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration showed an increase of 4.4 percent in overall trespassing casualties and a 13 percent increase in trespasser deaths, although trespassing injuries fell 3.9 percent.

OLS officials said that early indications are that trespassing incidents continued to increase in 2015.

“Our outreach to the photography community is an urgent step in curbing these incidents, but we want to reach everyone with a smart phone or a camera,” Rose said.

The new video, which is funded by the FRA, takes a humorous approach at scenarios that put professional photographers and their clients at risk.

The video is being made available on the OLS website, through social media and the website of its ongoing safety campaign titled “Seek Tracks? Think Train!”

The Professional Photographers of America will make the video available to its members. OLS in October worked with the PPA to conduct a webinar about the dangers of taking photos near railroad tracks.

“Capturing what are supposed to be joyful moments and happy life events are too often becoming painful, heartbreaking tales for families and communities,” said Jamie Rennert, who leads the FRA’s highway-rail grade crossing safety task force. “No photo is worth the risk. Trespassing is always illegal and often fatal.”