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Rail News: Safety

SEPTA issues safety reminder following trespasser fatalities


In response to two recent fatalities, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) officials are reminding the public about the dangers of trespassing on rail tracks.

Last week, four people walking in the SEPTA track area were injured by the agency's regional rail trains, resulting in two fatalities, according to an agency press release.

"No one should ever assume that there is a time when tracks are completely clear of train traffic. A train can come on any track at any time," said Scott Sauer, SEPTA's chief officer of system safety and a board member for Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), a national organization dedicated to rail safety.

Sauer noted that the majority of train-related incidents are preventable.

"A moving train can't steer out of the way of a person in the tracks and it takes more effort and time to slow or stop a train. By crossing the tracks instead of using a dedicated overpass or underpass, people are putting themselves in imminent, and unnecessary, danger," he said.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, nationwide, 476 people were killed by trains in 2013 by walking in the track area. Pennsylvania ranked sixth among all states, with 19 deaths, SEPTA officials said.

SEPTA has partnered with OLI on its "See Tracks? Think Train!" public service campaign, which is aimed at reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities around railroad tracks by highlighting risky behaviors. SEPTA's system safety officers will feature information from the program in the many Operation Lifesaver rail safety presentations they make across SEPTA's service area.

Meanwhile, OLI has unveiled a redesigned website homepage as part of the organization's ongoing mission to prevent injuries and fatalities. The new design highlights the "See Tracks? Think Train!" campaign.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/6/2014