Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) urges public to help stop track tragedies during Rail Safety Week (RSW) 2022 and beyond. Also, Operation Lifesaver (OL) Canada joins forces with Thomas & Friends™ to teach kids about rail safety; CN police services mobilize across Canada and the U.S. to raise awareness about rail safety; and Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) announce national campaign to educate public about safety around trains and tracks.
OLI, OL Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF) are once again joining forces to help prevent tragedies around railroad tracks and trains by observing RSW across North America, Sept. 19-25. This annual week-long event, OLI says, “concentrates public attention on the need for rail safety education and saves lives by educating and empowering the public to make safe decisions around tracks and trains.”
As part of RSW, new video and audio public service announcements (PSAs), as well as social media campaigns are being released. An ongoing campaign called #STOPTrackTragedies features videos with the personal stories of people directly affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents, including victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers and first responders. The full campaign can be viewed here.
“RSW concentrates the public awareness and education campaigns that occur all year long across the country into one jam-packed week. Each day this week, OLI state programs will share rail safety messages in support of our core mission–to save lives,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “Each day focuses on a different audience with customized rail safety messages in support of our core mission–saving lives. This annual event brings together OLI state programs, North American safety partners and our partners at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) along with the many other organizations who share the rail safety message–this week, and all year round Everyone can help by taking–and sharing–the Operation Lifesaver Rail Safety Pledge,” Maleh continued. “Together, we can #STOPTrackTragedies.”
“Our goal for RSW is to remind Canadians that making an unsafe decision around tracks and trains—whether it’s to train-hop, ignore railway signs and signals, or to send a text while driving—can tear lives apart: yours, those of your loved ones, and members of your community,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of OL Canada. “We’re calling on everyone to do their part to #STOPTrackTragedies.”
“We are excited to join RSW 2022,” said AMF Director General Iker de Luisa. “We urge drivers, passengers and anyone traveling near railroad tracks and trains to use common sense and be alert. Our priority is the promotion of safe interactions between railroads and the community. #VesViasPiensaEnTren #CuidaTuVida.”
In the U.S., along with the PSAs and a social media ad campaign, the following themes will be emphasized:
- Monday, Sept. 19 kicks off the week with the overarching theme of #STOPTrackTragedies and a focus on Media Outreach and RSW Proclamations in states and localities as well as urging people to take the OLI Rail Safety Pledge.
- Tuesday, Sept. 20 focuses on the annual observance of Operation Clear Track in the U.S. and Canada emphasizing the importance of obeying crossing safety and anti-trespass laws. Law enforcement partners will conduct awareness exercises, Officer on the Train activities and other in person positive enforcement events; first responders will share RSW messages virtually through social media, email messaging and website posts.
- Wednesday, Sept. 21 highlights Crossing Safety, with outreach to the public, including new and mature drivers, shift workers, school bus drivers and farmers as well as outdoor enthusiasts on safe crossing techniques with special attention to the Blue and White Emergency Notification System (ENS) signs at crossings.
- Thursday, Sept. 22, Transit Safety Thursday and Professional Driver Safety, showcases how to stay safe as a rail commuter or transit rider, as well as safe choices around railroad tracks and trains for professional drivers.
- Friday, Sept. 23 focuses on Volunteering for OLI along with Wearing Red or “Red Out” for Rail Safety by encouraging safety organizations, partners, schools, railroads and the public to wear red at public events and to share photos on social media.
- Saturday, Sept. 24 highlights Trespass Prevention, educating pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, college students, people experiencing homelessness and outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers posed by being on or near the tracks.
- Sunday, Sept. 25 promotes No Photo, Video or Selfie is Worth the Risk, to warn professional and amateur photographers as well as social media influencers against putting themselves or others in danger by illegally taking photos, videos, or filming near tracks and trains.
OL Canada recently launched two new rail-safety focused Thomas & Friends™ books in partnership with Mattel Canada, Canadian Pacific (CP) and Metrolinx at an event in the Skywalk between Union Station and Rogers Centre on Sept. 17 and 18. The event featured readings of OL’s new Stay Safe with Thomas storybook, games and giveaways, all with a rail safety theme—allowing children to follow along with Thomas as he learns lessons about the dangers of not stopping at rail crossings and standing too close to the platform edge at train stations.
“These books are the perfect way for young children to learn the rail-safety rules they need to know to stay safe,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of OL Canada.
“Teaching children about rail safety from an early age forms their behaviors for the future,” said CP Chief of Police Service Al Sauve. “Thomas & Friends™ is an age-appropriate and easy-to-understand introduction to rail safety that we hope will positively influence children. CP is proud to be a part of this initiative with Operation Lifesaver and to help share the message of rail safety.”
OL says it will also be offering its new Thomas & Friends™ books for free to parents, educators and community groups. Anyone can download a PDF version of the Stay Safe with Thomas storybook, and teachers and community groups can order batches of 25 storybooks and Stand Back activity books using a form on OL’s website. Readings of the Stay Safe with Thomas storybook will also be hosted at select Toys ‘R Us stores across Canada on Sept. 25, where OL will be giving away free copies of its Thomas activity books. Follow OL Canada on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for details and store locations.
DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION OF THE STAY SAFE WITH THOMAS STORYBOOK BELOW:
CN on Sept. 19 launched its annual rail safety awareness campaign for RSW 2022. The railroad, CN says, is joining groups across North America to “bring awareness to the danger of unsafe behavior around railway properties.” From Sept. 19-25, CN Police Service (CNPS), along with many CN employees, will spread important messages about rail safety in communities across CN’s network to help prevent train related accidents and injuries.
Every year, CN says its Police Service respond to hundreds of events along the railroad’s network across eight Canadian provinces and 16 U.S. states. In addition to protecting CN property, the railroad says its officers deliver rail safety presentations to schools, trucking agencies, bus operators and community organizations. “By rolling out strategic educational initiatives and conducting targeted operations, CNPS aims to promote safe behaviors and increase awareness of rail safety. CNPS is committed to making CN the safest railroad in North America,” the railroad said.
“Everyone is responsible for rail safety, and this is why CN wants you to get involved and help us save lives,” said CN Chief of Police and Chief Security Officer Stephen Covey. “We all have a role to play to keep our communities safe, whether it is by acting as a role model around trains and tracks, speaking up when we witness unsafe actions or simply by sharing rail safety tips with family, friends and colleagues. I encourage you to take the time this Rail Safety Week to remind your communities, loved ones and neighbors about the critical importance of being safe around rail property. By doing so, you could help save a life,” Covey added.
According to CN, in North America there are 2,000 crossing accidents and 1,000 trespassing incidents on average each year. In 2021, there have been 2,145 collisions reported in the U.S. resulting in 236 fatalities and 668 injuries. For Canada there have been 199 incidents in 2021 resulting in 58 fatalities and 41 serious injuries.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)‘s Metro-North Railroad and LIRR announced on Sept. 18 a series of events surrounding RSW. Participation in the national week-long education campaign, the agency says, is part of the MTA Railroads’ TRACKS (Together Railroads And Communities Keeping Safe) programs, the safety education programs led by the LIRR and Metro-North safety departments to “reach out to customers and neighbors in the communities they serve, including schools, camps, day care facilities, and community groups.”
“Providing a safe experience for our riders and the communities we serve is our top priority,” said Metro-North President and LIRR Interim President Catherine Rinaldi. “National RSW is a chance for us to remind the public about the importance of the need for being safe around railroads.”
In addition to railroad employees and members of the MTA Police Department, Metro-North and LIRR will be joined by representatives from the New York State and Connecticut Departments of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), OLI and the Suicide Response Crisis Center.
MTA says the public is encouraged to wear red on Friday, Sept. 23, for “Red Out for Rail Safety Day” and post photos on social media using #MNRTracks and tagging @LIRR. Metro-North’s TRACKS mascot, Metro-Man, will be in Grand Central Terminal during the day to meet customers.
More information on the events can be found below.
On Monday, Sept. 19, Metro-North volunteers will be at the following stations to promote rail safety to all customers:
- Scarsdale: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Riverdale: 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Port Chester: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Botanical Gardens: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Beacon: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Cos Cob: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Stamford: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Metro-North volunteers will be at the following grade-crossing locations to promote rail and grade-crossing safety to both pedestrians and drivers:
- Brewster Station (Brewster, N.Y.): 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Valhalla Station (Valhalla, N.Y.): 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Division St (New Haven, Conn.): 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Crescent St (Stamford, Conn.): 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- East Central Ave (Pearl River, N.Y.): 7 a.m. to. 9 a.m.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, Metro-North will have a table set up at Grand Central Terminal from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Customers can play games and win prizes while learning how to be safe around trains, tracks and grade crossings. Metro-North is also launching this year’s RSW poster contest.
And on Saturday, Sept. 24, Metro-North will be at Suffern Day at the Suffern Ballfield Complex on Ramapo Avenue between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
LIRR employees will be at the following stations throughout the week to promote rail safety to all customers:
- Hewlett: Monday, Sept. 19 from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
- Farmingdale: Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
- Deer Park: Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
- Ronkonkoma: Thursday, Sept. 22 from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
- Stony Brook (joined by representatives from the Long Island Response Crisis Center): Friday, Sept. 23 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.