Octa's transportation blog

Stay Safe on the Tracks: No Photos!

This safety tip comes at an especially important time with families and students memorializing their final year of high school with photos. There are so many gorgeous and interesting spots to take photos throughout Southern California. Taking photos on active rail lines is not worth the risk.

In 2019, 141 people lost their lives in California due to rail trespassing. An additional 95 people sustained injuries. These numbers are more than double any other state in the country. When you see tracks, think train.

1. Respect restricted areas

Trespassing near railroad tracks or trains is dangerous. It’s also a crime. Metrolink uses fences and restricted areas to keep people away from extremely hazardous areas. Please respect these laws and preserve your life.

2. No time for tripping

The contrast of an approaching train against a stationary backdrop creates an optical illusion that prevents people from accurately discerning how far a train is and how fast it is moving, which can lead to injury or death.

This is evidenced in the tragic story of Mark Kalina, which he shared at a 2018 Metrolink rail safety event. In 2012, Kalina lost both legs after attempting to cross the train tracks for a shortcut home. You can find the whole story here.

3. Trains can’t stop quickly

Even if a train engineer detects someone on or near the tracks before collision, there are many factors that impact how long it takes a train to come to a complete stop. The number of train cars and the cargo add to the weight of the overall train which can lead to a slower stop. Track decline as well as moisture on the tracks can also delay a stop.

4. Be aware of your surroundings

Regardless of where you take photos or shoot videos, be aware of your surroundings. No photo is worth injury or death.

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