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Railroad Crossing Reminder

On March 9th, 2015, an Amtrak train on its way to New York derailed in North Carolina after colliding with a tractor trailer, injuring almost 60 people. The oversized trailer involved was transporting heavy equipment when it apparently came across a difficult left hand turn. According to conflicting reports, the vehicle attempted to successfully navigate the turn for anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes, during which the train approached with no indication. By the time the warning flashers and crossing arms came down, the truck was still trapped on the tracks and unable to back up before the train struck.

It is extremely fortunate that the more than 200 passengers all survived, considering seven people have been killed in serious train crashes in the last two months nation-wide. However, events such as this can act as reminders to ensure your team knows the proper procedure should they find themselves in a similar situation. Typically, railroad operators will post a mounted sign holding flashing lights at all crossings, similar to the one pictured to the left.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes updated Railroad Crossing Safety Guidance on their website for public reference. These resources include brochures, videos in both English and Spanish, and other resources to assist with training on highway-rail grade crossing safety protocol.

PS&F also recommends taking a look at Operation Lifesaver’s website, a nonprofit organization started in 1972 to increase public awareness of train crossing safety and reduce the number of highway-rail crossing accidents. This group offers free rail safety education in fifty states for pedestrians, passengers, drivers, cyclists, and more.

Additionally, we have included the Railroad’s Emergency phone numbers for quick reference below:

Railroads’ Emergency Phone Numbers

Use these phone numbers to report a vehicle stalled or hung up on tracks, or a signal malfunction. Provide the location, crossing number (if posted), and the name of the road or highway that crosses the tracks. And be sure to specify that a vehicle is on the tracks! During an emergency, call the local police or 911 if you cannot locate the railroad emergency phone number at the site.

Educating both railway workers and the public on safety can save lives.

Amtrak 1-800-331-0008
BNSF Railway 1-800-832-5452
CSX 1-800-232-0144
Canadian National 1-800-465-9239
Canadian Pacific 1-800-716-9132
Kansas City Southern 1-800-892-6295
Norfolk Southern 1-800-453-2530
Union Pacific 1-888-877-7267

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