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September 19, 2022

Metro Transit Offers Helpful Reminders for Rail Safety Week: Goal is to educate the public on train and track safety to help stop track tragedies

In observance of National Rail Safety Week 2022, which runs September 19-25, Metro Transit is sharing some of the most important reminders people need to be aware of to maximize their safety around railroad tracks and prevent track tragedies. In the United States, a person or vehicle is struck by a train every three hours, which equates to about 2,920 train-related incidents each year. This eye-opening statistic is a sobering reminder of the importance of being careful around grade crossings, near train tracks and when inside transit stations.

The power and force of trains are often underestimated. It takes a MetroLink train 600 feet – the length of two football fields – to come to a complete stop when going approximately 55 MPH. Other types of trains can reach speeds over 100 MPH. More than 50 percent of collisions occur at crossings equipped with lights and/or gates, and 9 out of 10 rail-related fatalities involve grade crossing collisions or incidents with trespassers.

“Safety around trains and tracks is very important, and our team is committed to keeping our team members and our customers safe through education and engagement,” said Taulby Roach, President and CEO of Bi-State Development, which operates Metro Transit for the St. Louis region. “We encourage the public to use Rail Safety Week to brush up on railroad safety and join us in helping to prevent injuries or worse.”

The following are 6 things to know about light rail and commuter train safety.

  1. Stand Back – Observe the pavement markings. Stand back from the platform, behind the painted and raised markings. Trains overhang tracks. Never run or ride scooters, skateboards or bicycles in a station.
  2. Stay off the Tracks – If you drop an item on the tracks, do not attempt to retrieve it. Notify a Metro Transit team member, Public Safety personnel or contact Public Safety at 314.289.6873 for assistance.
  3. See Tracks? Think Train® – Remain alert for oncoming trains on station platforms and while driving or walking. Listen and watch for pedestrian and traffic signals.
  4. Be Aware of High Voltage – Never walk next to or in between the rails. High voltage electrical power can run underground on a third rail or above trains.
  5. Cross Legally and Safely – Cross only at designated crossings. Observe signs, signals and pavement markings. Always look for a train.
  6. Wait, Look Both Ways – Always expect a train. Trains are closer and faster than they appear. Multiple tracks may mean multiple trains. Look for additional trains on adjacent tracks.

“It’s also important to avoid distractions,” added Roach. “Texting, headphones or other distractions can prevent you from hearing an approaching train.”

Rail Safety Week is spearheaded by Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF), making it a true North American effort. For more information visit https://oli.org/about-us/public-awareness-campaigns/rail-safety-week.

Click here for the Metro Transit Rail Safety brochure.

Metro Transit operates the St. Louis region’s main public transportation system, which includes 24 battery electric buses and nearly 400 clean-burning diesel buses that serve 59 MetroBus routes in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois. Metro also operates MetroLink light rail vehicles on 46 miles of track serving 38 stations in the two-state area, and operates Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 122 vans. Metro Transit is a Bi-State Development enterprise.