As summer activities begin this season, it’s important to remember to be safe around railroad tracks, including those used by the three Metrolink lines that serve Orange County. OCTA is one of five Metrolink member agencies, and administers weekday and weekend service on the Orange County, Inland-Empire-Orange County, and 91/Perris Valley lines.
Trespassing is major contributor to rail incidents. According to California Operation Lifesaver, California ranks No. 1 in the nation in incidents involving trespassers on railroad tracks, with 191 incidents in 2016, a 38.4 percent increase from the prior year, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
Every three hours, someone is hit by a train in the United States. Whether the trespasser is on foot or in a vehicle, the result is the same — severe injury or even death.
Trespasser-related rail incidents can be easily prevented. Follow these simple safety tips from California Operation Lifesaver and share them with your friends and family:
- The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a warning sign, flashing red lights or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be ticketed or fined. Cross tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
- Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine.
- It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who suddenly sees someone on the tracks will likely be unable to stop in time.
- Stay alert: Trains can come from either direction at any time and can be very quiet. Around train tracks or in stations, obey all warning signs and signals and use caution when using headsets or cell phones.
- Stand away from the platform edge: Pay attention to painted or raised markings at the platform edge, and stay at least three feet from the train while it is coming in or out of the station.
- See Tracks? Think Train!
For additional safety tips and information on how OCTA is helping to make rail crossings safer, please click here.