September is Rail Safety Month in California and September 21-27 is U.S. Rail Safety Week across the nation. California leads the nation in annual fatalities due to highway-rail grade crossing and trespassing incidents, according to California Operation Lifesaver (CAOL) and the Federal Railroad Administration.
Most incidents are preventable by following simple safety rules, including:
- Never walk on or along train tracks; it's illegal trespassing and highly dangerous.
- Cross train tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings and obey all warning signs and signals posted there.
- Stay alert whenever you are near railroad tracks and crossings. Don't use your phone, wear headphones or let other things distract you and possibly prevent you from hearing an approaching train.
As part of Rail Safety Month, Metrolink and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department conducted crossing enforcement operations at ten spots along the Metrolink line through Santa Ana, including Grand Avenue, McFadden Avenue and Ritchey Street. These three crossings have a high volume of incidents ranging from strikes to trespassing. Officers stopped drivers who made unsafe moves and cautioned them against hurrying over tracks before the crossing arms were fully up or down. An approaching train could cause the crossing arms to descend before a vehicle clears the crossing.
Trains are part of Orange County life. For additional Metrolink safety tips and videos, visit here.
Rail Safety tools and resources are also available on the Pacific Surfliner website, including activities for kids, lesson plans for teachers and parents, and downloadable presentations developed by Operation Lifesaver and CAOL, two non-profit entities that work year-round to promote rail safety.
The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner passes through Orange County as part of its 351-mile coastal rail route from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. The Pacific Surfliner is administered by the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency. The LOSSAN Agency is staffed and supported by OCTA.