Operation Lifesaver: stay off railroad tracks

Fast Facts:
– OL cautions pedestrians to stay off railroad tracks – it’s dangerous and illegal.
– This week, Amtrak’s Pere Marquette was delayed for two hours because pranksters built a snow mound on the tracks.
– This illegal action resulted in expenses for three railroads and delays for passengers.
– Michigan rail trespass fatalities rose to 14 in 2012, from nine in 2011.

Michigan Operation Lifesaver (OL) cautions pedestrians to stay off railroad tracks – it’s dangerous and illegal. In an incident on Amtrak’s Pere Marquette service this week, pranksters were seen photographing a man-made snow mound on the tracks as the train came barreling through in Michigan City, Ind.

Moments later, the engineer noticed the train’s plow was striking the crossings roughly. The train was stopped, an inspection conducted and it was determined that the plow was dragging too low for the train to be operated safely. Time and financial resources were incurred to fix the plow, resulting in a two-hour delay for passengers, and expenses for Amtrak, the host railroad CSX, and a dispatched repair truck from Norfolk Southern.

Bottom line: trespassing on railroad tracks is illegal and will not be tolerated.

In a news release issued this week, Michigan OL noted a reduction in 2012 highway-rail crossing collision fatalities in Michigan from eight in 2011 to one in 2012, but an increase in rail trespass fatalities from nine in 2011 to 14 in 2012. In the release, Sam Crowl, Operation Lifesaver state coordinator noted, “It’s a sobering fact that the number of people killed while trespassing on train tracks continues to outpace fatalities from vehicle-train collisions. Operation Lifesaver, in partnership with major freight railroads, commuter and light rail systems, state and local law enforcement, and transportation agencies, is expanding our efforts to encourage (citizens) to make safe decisions around tracks and trains.”