June 3, 2014
Valdosta, GA - Last year, 13 people were killed in vehicle-train collisions.
15 people died while trespassing on railroad property.
And according to the Federal Railroad Administration, another 908 people were killed or injured walking on or near railroad tracks.
"The train is not going to stop. It can't stop. And if you fail to observe the safety features that are put in to place. Then it's not going to turn out well", says Ricky Gibbs, Engineer for Norfolk Southern.
For the last 40 years, Operation Lifesaver has worked with railroad companies to encourage safety around trains. This week, they've partnered with Norfolk Southern for their first Whistle-Stop Train Tour. The 327-mile rail safety tour, left Valdosta early Tuesday morning.
Operation Lifesaver and Norfolk Southern invited local officials and first responders to board one of their passenger trains on Tuesday to encourage them to spread the message of train safety.
"What we do is educate the public, starting with school children, not to walk or play on railroad tracks, ride bicycles, and so fourth. And then big people like us, not to try to beat a train at a crossing", says Jennie Glasgow, State Coordinator for Operation Lifesaver.
Glasgow also says, Georgia has one of the most extensive rail networks in the U.S., with nearly 5,000 miles of track. That's why It's crucial to alert citizens to the dangers of trying to beat the train.
Folks at operation lifesaver also say it's important to remember that trains don't operate on fixed schedules. And say you should always expect that a train could cross at any time.
For more information on the Federal Railroad Administration, visit http://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0001.