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April 28, 2011

Preventing Train-Pedestrian and Train-Vehicle Collision Accidents: Respect the Train

Dianne Williams   
Director of Communications

Any injury or death that is the result of a train hitting a person or vehicle is one too many, and injuries and deaths from train-pedestrian and train-vehicle accidents can be prevented. Safety is Metro Transit’s top priority. The Agency takes great pride in safely and efficiently handling millions of boardings by public transit customers every year.

Metro employees are educating MetroLink passengers about rail safety. Tomorrow on Friday, April 29, Metro workers will distribute Operation Lifesaver brochures to passengers at three MetroLink stations from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. They will be at the Wellston, UMSL South and Rock Road MetroLink Stations.

Nationwide, about every three hours according to Operation Lifesaver, a person or a vehicle is struck by a train. Last year in Illinois, there were 125 highway-rail grade crossing collisions and 52 were recorded in the State of Missouri according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Metro takes every precaution possible to prevent accidents, and Metro Transit has had only two train-vehicle collisions in the last year. Metro is asking the public to respect the trains. With the public’s help, Metro Transit can prevent accidents, and the injuries and deaths they cause. Here are some things people can do to keep themselves and their children safe around trains.

• Teach children that tracks are for trains. They are not meant for children or teenagers to play on or walk down.

• Crossing the tracks at undesignated locations is considered trespassing and is very dangerous because MetroLink train operators are not expecting to see anyone crossing in undesignated areas.

• MetroLink trains run at a top speed of 55 miles per hour, weigh more than 180,000 pounds and they cannot swerve if someone or something is on the tracks. It can take a MetroLink train several hundred feet to complete an emergency stop so do not try to beat the train walking or driving.

• “Watch, Look and Listen” before you cross the tracks and ONLY cross at designated crossings.

• Be aware of what is going on around you as you cross. Look both ways and remember you may not hear a train coming if you are talking on your cell phone or listening to music on your iPod. Unlike freight trains, MetroLink travels very quietly. Pay attention.

• At vehicle crossings, Metro Transit has grade crossing arms, bells and lights to alert motorists that a train is coming. Each MetroLink train sounds a warning prior to passing the crossing. Do not cross in front of oncoming trains. As many as 20 MetroLink trains an hour pass through the same crossings. If your vehicle ever stalls on the tracks, get out of your vehicle and run or walk away from the tracks. Go in the direction the train is coming from so if the train does hit your vehicle, you will reduce your chances of being struck by flying debris.

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