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September 19, 2023

Metro Transit Offers Safety Reminders for National Rail Safety Week

In the United States, a person or vehicle is struck by a train every three hours. This is a sobering reminder of the importance of being alert around rail crossings, near train tracks and when at transit stations. September 18-24 is Rail Safety Week, and in an effort to maximize safety around railroad tracks and to prevent injuries and tragedies, Metro Transit is sharing some important rail safety reminders that apply every day of the year.

Because MetroLink trains are powered by overhead electrical wires, they run quieter than freight trains. Never walk on the tracks or try to beat the train to the station platform or at a street crossing. It takes a MetroLink train 600 feet – the length of two football fields — to come to a complete stop when going approximately 55 MPH. More than 50% of collisions occur at crossings equipped with lights and/or gates. And, nine 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 everyone safe through education, audio announcements and signage posted at stations and transit centers,” said Taulby Roach, President and CEO of Bi-State Development, which operates the MetroLink system in the St. Louis region. “These incidents are preventable.”

Here are six important things to know about light rail safety:

  1. Stand Back: Observe the pavement markings. Stand back from the platform, behind the painted or raised markings. Trains overhang tracks. Never run or ride scooters, skateboards or bicycles on a station platform.
  2. Stay off the Tracks: If you accidentally drop an item onto the tracks, do not attempt to retrieve it. No material item is worth losing your life or a limb. Notify Metro Transit via the Passenger Assist Telephone. There is one located on every MetroLink platform and it connects you to security or call 314-289-6873.
  3. See Tracks? Think Train®: Remain alert for incoming trains from both directions at station platforms and while driving or walking. Don’t keep your head buried in your cell phone screen. Pay attention. 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 be transferred poles from wires above the trains.
  5. Cross Legally and Safely: Cross only at designated pedestrian rail crossings. Observe signs, signals and pavement markings. Always be look for a train coming in either direction.
  6. Wait, Look Both Ways: Always expect a train. Trains are closer and faster than they may appear. Multiple tracks may mean multiple trains. Look for additional trains on adjacent tracks.

“Don’t be distracted,” Roach said. “Texting, headphones or other distractions can prevent you from seeing and hearing an approaching train.”

For more information on rail safety, visit Track Safety Basics | Operation Lifesaver (oli.org).

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