Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Operation Lifesaver (OLI), Amtrak on Jan. 12 released into service a specially painted P-42 diesel, emblazoned on both sides with the message, “See Tracks? Think Train!”
The diesel locomotive, unveiled during a ceremony at Washington (D.C.) Union Station, will run on Amtrak’s national network, the railroad reported. It was painted at an Amtrak maintenance facility in Beech Grove, Ind. Among those attending the event were Amit Bose, who was confirmed by the Senate as the 15th Federal Railroad Administrator on the same day, and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) staff.
Non-profit OLI was established in 1972 with the aim of reducing railroad-related collisions, deaths and injuries across the United States, utilizing the “3 E’s – Education, Engineering and Enforcement.” It offers education and awareness programs in 46 states and Washington, D.C. Trained volunteers provide free safety presentations to law enforcement, first responders, school-aged children, school bus operators, truckers, student drivers and more.
“Amtrak and Operation Lifesaver have been partners for many years with the goal of educating the community on the importance of avoiding high-risk behavior on or near railroad crossings and tracks,” said Amtrak President Stephen Gardner, who on Jan. 17 will add CEO to his role. “We are proud to celebrate Operation Lifesaver in reaching a critical milestone. When you see this distinctive Amtrak locomotive travel through your community, you will be reminded of the importance of rail safety.”
“Over the past five decades, Operation Lifesaver and its safety partners have helped reduce railroad crossing incidents by 84%, from 12,000 in 1972, the year Operation Lifesaver started, to 1,900 in 2020. But, there is still work to be done. Every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train,” OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh said. “Thank you to Amtrak for their continued partnership in sharing the rail safety message and for supporting Operation Lifesaver’s 50th anniversary with this commemorative locomotive that will travel across the country sharing the rail safety message in a very visual way. Together, we can stop track tragedies.”