With Friday marking the start of September and the beginning of Rail Safety Month, the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency on Thursday, Aug. 31, announced an initiative to enhance safety near railroad tracks.
Operation Safe Surfs will use several strategies intended to reduce pedestrian and vehicle incidents near the railroad and increase awareness of rail safety.
“Rail safety is an important priority for our agency,” said Jewel Edson, chair of the LOSSAN Agency Board of Directors. “With Operation Safe Surfs, we’re not only expanding rail safety, but also providing support to our most vulnerable populations. We are confident that this initiative will save lives and make a meaningful difference for our communities.”
The methods include digitally advertising about safety to counties where incidents are the most common, through cell phones, streaming platforms and televisions, installing signs near high-risk areas of the railroad, and providing outreach to unhoused persons in the form of rail safety information and care packages.
According to a release about the initiative, an analysis of incident data along the LOSSAN corridor indicated that certain sections of the railroad saw higher numbers of pedestrian and vehicle incidents, such as near Oceanside, Solana Beach, and Fullerton. That research prompted the project’s development.
The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner’s webpage on Rail Safety Month states a person or vehicle is struck by a train every three hours in the United States, adding that 95% of incidents occur because the victim misunderstands a trains’ noise level and speed.
It also advises people to only cross railroad tracks at designated locations and obey all posted signs, to not walk, jog, stand or take photos on or next to tracks, and to avoid activities that would prevent someone from hearing an oncoming train.
To report suspicious activity, items or people to the Amtrak Police Department, approach a uniformed officer, call 800.331.0008 or 911, or text 27311. Metrolink passengers can contact Metrolink’s Security Operations Center at 866.640.5190.
People can also report an emergency at a train crossing by contacting the number listed on a posted Emergency Notification System sign.