Caltrain Board Proclaims September Rail Safety Month

For most people living and working along the rail corridor, the sight of Caltrain operating daily service up and down the Peninsula is commonplace. But complacency around a heavy commuter train can sometimes lead to tragedy.

To highlight the importance of safety around trains, the Caltrain Board adopted a proclamation designating September as Railroad Safety Month during its monthly meeting.

“At Caltrain, safety is always our number one priority. Our commitment to safety extends far beyond the month of September, with a year-round emphasis on safety around trains and train tracks,” said Jeannie Bruins, Chair of the Caltrain Board of Directors. “Train vs. person and train vs. vehicle accidents can be prevented if we each do our part by paying attention and being aware of our surroundings.”

The rail agency addresses safety through a comprehensive, ongoing program that focuses on the “Three E’s” of railroad safety – Education, Engineering and Enforcement. 

For the last 15 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 has joined in their efforts over the years to promote rail safety initiatives.

This year, Caltrain will be promoting rail safety awareness at Facebook Festivals in Menlo Park on Saturday, September 8, 2018.  As a community outreach effort, staff will have a booth set-up at this event with educational materials and giveaways to promote rail safety. On September 25, Caltrain and its law enforcement partner, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Transit Police Bureau, will be conducting targeted outreach at three high volume grade crossings in Redwood City at Whipple Avenue, Brewster Avenue and Broadway. The outreach at those grade crossings is collaboration with a national outreach effort called Operation Clear Tracks being led by the Amtrak Police Department.

In addition, Caltrain’s Communications team has created a new rail safety public service announcement that shows what happen, from the agency’s perspective, when an incident occurs on the railroad tracks.

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.

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’s 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 and when it is safe to do so. While it might not be the quickest route, it is the safest.

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About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain has enjoyed more than five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 65,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. 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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