BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the MBTA, Keolis Commuter Services, MBTA Transit Police (TPD), and others in partnership with Massachusetts Operation Lifesaver will participate in a series of educational initiatives to take place during the nation’s second annual Rail Safety Week. Developed by Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a public safety non-profit dedicated to rail safety education, this year’s Rail Safety Week is September 23 – 29, 2018.
“We’re committed to helping prevent these kinds of devastating tragedies through continued outreach and education, especially during Rail Safety Week,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “With safety as the T’s top priority, MBTA staff and our partners will be in many parts of the MBTA system this week to share important rail safety information and to promote a safe environment that benefits our customers, our employees, and our vendors. Through these efforts, we hope to convey the importance of rail safety for anyone who interacts with the MBTA system, from the motorists coming into contact with crossings to the passengers we serve to the employees we value.”
“Across the United States, the tragic reality is that every 3 hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train,” said MBTA Transit Police Officer and State Coordinator for Massachusetts Operation Lifesaver Dana Nye. “The goal of Operation Lifesaver is to raise awareness among the general public to ensure that they more clearly understand the dangers to be aware of on or near trains, tracks, and rail property. Though the program runs throughout the year, we will highlight our efforts during Rail Safety Week. It is my sincere hope that we can drastically decrease the number of individuals, families, and rail employees that are affected by rail tragedies, not just here in Massachusetts, but throughout the country through this national awareness and education campaign.”
“With the MBTA we have invested $20 million to further improve passenger and employee safety,” said Keolis General Manager and CEO David Scorey. “These investments include new technologies like a state-of-the-art locomotive simulator, a revamped safety department and enhanced training programs for employees. Safety of our passengers and employees will always be our first priority at Keolis and I am grateful for the opportunity Rail Safety Week provides to remind the broader community to exercise responsible rail habits.”
Too often in both the MBTA system and nationwide, individuals walk along tracks or cut across rights of way without realizing the life-threatening risks of trespassing along railways. Many times, individuals on Commuter Rail tracks don’t hear a train approaching until it is too late due to a train’s high speed. Even when a Commuter Rail train is not scheduled, there are also freight trains and other services that operate on the Commuter Rail network around the Greater Boston area. Subway trains also operate at high speeds with immediate braking capacity limited in the event of an unexpected individual found to be along the track area. Additionally, incidents have occurred in which motor vehicle drivers attempt to pass through crossings when warning lights are flashing and/or crossing gates are descending across the roadway with devastating results.
The MBTA is committed to ensuring a safe environment for its passengers and employees and recognizes the risks associated with rail travel. “See tracks? Think train” and “Stop Rail Tragedies” are a part of Operation Lifesaver’s educational campaign aiming to inform the public about the severe risks associated with trespassing on rail tracks or not heeding warning signals at railway grade crossings. The MBTA, Keolis, and TPD have partnered with Massachusetts Operation Lifesaver to educate passengers and the public.
The MBTA Safety Department, Keolis, and TPD have significantly increased the numbers of employees trained in the Operation Lifesaver program in an effort to further spread safety messaging through presentations to schools, civic groups, driver education programs, school bus companies, professional driving schools, trucking companies, and first responders. Massachusetts Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Nye also hopes to connect with School Resource Officers throughout the Commonwealth in order to educate youth within these communities of additional rail safety measures.
Schools or other organizations that would like to schedule an Operation Lifesaver event should contact Officer Nye at the MBTA Transit Police at 617-222-1212.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the MBTA.)