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SEPTA Joins National Rail Safety Initiative

Heather Redfern
Public Information Manager

The statistics are startling - across the U.S., a person or vehicle is struck by a train about every three hours. The Federal Railroad Administration recorded more than 2,000 highway-rail grade crossing collisions and almost 1,000 pedestrian rail trespass casualties throughout the United States in 2016.

But the majority of rail related deaths could be prevented if pedestrians and motorists followed one simply safety guideline: stay off the tracks.

In an effort to reduce the number of casualties and fatalities around tracks, rail facilities and grade crossings, Operation Lifesaver, Inc., and the U.S. Department of Transportation designated September 24-30 as the first national Rail Safety Week. SEPTA was one of many transit organizations that partnered in the week-long education and social media campaign.

The keystone event of Rail Safety Week was "Transit Safety Thursday". On Thursday, September 28, SEPTA's System Safety officers and employee ambassadors conducted Safety Blitzes at several SEPTA Regional Rail stations during the morning rush hour. From 6:30-8:30 a.m., SEPTA representatives distributed educational materials and answered safety questions at Lansdale, North Wales, Primos, Conshohocken, Hatboro and Philmont Stations - stations all located in close proximity to grade crossings.

SEPTA System Safety officers wrapped up Transit Safety Thursday with a Safety Blitz at the Leamy Avenue, Saxer Avenue and Woodland Avenue Stations along the Authority's Route 101 Trolley Line in Springfield, Delaware County from 2-3:45 p.m. E.T. Richardson Middle School, Springfield Senior High School and St. Francis of Assisi Parish School are located within close proximity of the trolley stations and SEPTA representatives used the Blitz to teach local students about the dangers of rail transit trespassing.

SEPTA's participation in Rail Safety Week is an extension of the Authority's Safety Blitz education program. "At least once a month, our safety officers and police officers visit railroad, rail transit and bus stations across the Authority, reviewing regulations and precautions with thousands of customers," said SEPTA Assistant General Manager of System Safety Jim Fox. "We often visit locations as a result of community request or stations that have had a high volume of customers or trespassers."

The Authority's System Safety Department also makes Operation Lifesaver rail safety presentations to students from kindergarten through high school and to a wide variety of audiences such as hearing and visually impaired adults, driver's education students, emergency responders and professional drivers. SEPTA offers the presentations free of charge to school and community groups.

An electronic sign at Lansdale Station reminded customers to watch when crossing tracks.

These Regional Rail customers are making the safe choice by crossing tracks at the designated crossing, after looking for an oncoming train.

Drivers should be sure to stop behind the lowered rail crossing gates.