Octa's transportation blog

September Is Rail Safety Awareness Month

Nationally, every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Tragically in 2017, California had the highest number of trespass fatalities and casualties in the country, while ranking second in the nation in crossing incidents.

Southern California is home to the nation’s two busiest ports, which means that many freight trains travel through the region. These trains share the tracks with passenger trains including Amtrak and Metrolink. Both freight and passenger trains pass through densely populated areas where vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians cross.

Trains are part of Orange County life. Every day, trains contribute to our mobility and economic growth. To help keep Orange County rail safe, OCTA enhanced 52 railroad crossings with upgraded and updated equipment and signage while helping silence train horns for local communities. OCTA's OC Bridges program separates freight trains from vehicular traffic along the Orangethorpe Corridor in Anaheim, Fullerton, and Placentia.

Please stay safe around trains. Remember:

  • Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. You can be fined for failure to obey these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and do not cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it’s safe to do so.
  • Stay alert around railroad tracks. No texting, headphones or other distractions that would prevent you from hearing an approaching train.
  • Vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians walking on tracks account for 95 percent of all rail-related deaths. Almost all of these deaths are preventable.
  • More than 50 percent of people who die while walking on railroad tracks have alcohol or drugs in their system.
  • By the time a locomotive engineer sees a trespasser or vehicle on the tracks, it’s too late. It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile-the length of 18 football fields-to stop.

Learn more about rail safety here.

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