For most people living and working along the rail corridor, the sight of Caltrain operating daily service up and down the Peninsula is commonplace. However, complacency around a heavy commuter train and relatively open access to the rails often leads to tragedy.
To highlight the importance of safety around train tracks and the high rate of intentional deaths on the rails, the Caltrain Board adopted a proclamation designating September as both Railroad Safety Month and Suicide Prevention Month during its monthly meeting.
“This proclamation for Railroad Safety & Suicide Prevention Month reaffirms Caltrain’s commitment to provide safe and efficient train service between San Francisco and Gilroy,” said Caltrain Board Chair Dev Davis during the meeting. “It is an opportunity to highlight the promotion and advancement of safety and prevention on the right of way through enhanced safety measures and increased public awareness.”
In honor of Rail Safety and Suicide Prevention Month, Caltrain will be promoting agency-created rail safety videos, in addition to promoting rail safety and suicide prevention messaging on our various social media platforms throughout the month, using #CaltrainSafe and #railsafety. The railroad has historically collaborated with suicide prevention agencies to prevent intentional deaths on the rails by posting crisis hotline signage at points all along the corridor and partnering with local behavioral and mental health organizations.
On Friday, September 17, at 10 a.m., Caltrain will host a ribbon-cutting event at the new Hillsdale Caltrain Station to celebrate the completion of the 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project in San Mateo.
The project separates the train tracks from the road at East 25th Avenue, between El Camino Real and South Delaware Street, while creating new east-west connections at 28th and 31st Avenues. This eliminates the risk of pedestrians and vehicles accessing the tracks, and prevents traffic bottlenecks at grade crossings. Studies have shown that separating train tracks from roads is the most effective way to prevent people from getting struck and killed by locomotives.
Caltrain addresses safety through a comprehensive, ongoing program that focuses on the “Three E’s” of railroad safety – Education, Engineering and Enforcement.
For the last 17 years, Caltrain has planned or participated in an annual rail safety event in conjunction with Operation Lifesaver, an international model program for rail safety. Since 2009, California Operation Lifesaver has declared September as Rail Safety Month. As one of the nonprofit organization’s community partners, Caltrain joins in their efforts to promote rail safety initiatives.
To be a part of the conversation during Rail Safety Month, passengers and local residents can pick a favorite safety tip and share it on social media with #CaltrainSafe and #RailSafety.
Examples of tips:
- If you encounter an emergency on Caltrain or see something suspicious, call the Transit Police at 1.877.SAF.RAIL (1.877.723.7245).
- A typical Caltrain train can take nearly a mile to stop, even when emergency brakes are applied.
- It is never safe to stop closer than 15 feet from the rails, and a train is at least three feet wider than tracks on both sides.
- Only cross Caltrain tracks at designated crossings when it is safe to do so. While it might not be the quickest route, it is the safest.
For more information, visit www.caltrain.com/railsafety.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with commute service to Gilroy. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.
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