To improve rail safety, Metrolink and law enforcement agencies heighten awareness of dangerous activities near railroad tracks
Los Angeles CA—As part of its Rail Safety Month activities, Metrolink on Wednesday afternoon and evening partnered with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to conduct an education and enforcement operation in the City of Santa Ana. The event’s objective was to reduce collisions, deaths and injuries at rail crossings and along railroad rights-of-way by raising community awareness about how to stay safe around trains and train tracks.
According to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, there were 1,122 rail trespassing casualties in 2019 in the United States. California ranked second in grade crossing incidents with 172 collisions resulting in 48 deaths and 64 injuries, while 55 people and 14 vehicles were struck by a train in Metrolink’s service area in 2019.
“The toughest part about being a member of the Metrolink Family is dealing with injuries and deaths that could largely be avoided,” said Metrolink Board Chair Brian Humphrey, who is also a firefighter/paramedic with the City of Los Angeles Fire Department. “We partner with law enforcement agencies to hold these types of operations to remind people to be safe around railroad tracks, whether on foot or behind the wheel of a vehicle. This specific effort was a part of Rail Safety Month, but safety is Metrolink’s top priority all year long.”
During Wednesday’s operation, which began at 4:30 p.m. and concluded just after 7 p.m., deputies interacted with drivers and pedestrians. The nearly three-hour effort resulted in three drivers receiving citations, four drivers being issued warnings and one arrest for an outstanding warrant. The vehicle offenses included stopping on the railroad tracks, failure to stop for an activated railroad crossing signal and unlicensed drivers. Deputies also distributed 28 rail safety education cards to drivers and pedestrians.
Metrolink partnered with both county Sheriff’s Departments to make sure drivers and pedestrians engaged in safe behavior at crossings. A total of 10 crossings, including those at Grand Avenue, McFadden Avenue and Ritchey Street, were monitored during the operation.
Metrolink encourages the community to always look both ways before crossing railroad tracks and to understand a train can come from either direction at any time. It is important people pay attention when approaching railroad crossings and avoid distractions like texting or listening to music, and stop at least 15 feet from the tracks.
September was designated Rail Safety Month by the State of California in 2009, with the goal of decreasing rail-related incidents. During Rail Safety Month, Metrolink conducts engineering upgrades and enforcement efforts, as well as promotes rail safety awareness through education about ways to stay safe at rail crossings and on the railroad rights-of-way through Metrolink’s commitment to safety.
For more information about Metrolink please visit metrolinktrains.com.