The Keystone Whistle-Stop Safety Train started in Delaware on June 23, 2014, and by June 26 will have operated through communities such as Harrington, Dover, Newark, Pottstown, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Lewistown, Altoona, and Latrobe. 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 approaches grade crossings.
“Since January 2011, Delaware has experienced 17 train vs. vehicle incidents at highway-rail grade crossings, and one pedestrian has been struck, “said Cayela Wimberly, NS’ grade crossing safety director. “Over the same period, Pennsylvania has experienced 185 train vs. vehicle incidents. Between January and March 2014 alone, 21 incidents have occurred, compared with 9 during the same period in 2013. During this decade in Pennsylvania, 108 people 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.
“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.”