Representatives from Amtrak, Operation Lifesaver Incorporated stress importance of railroad safety

Rail Safety Week lasts from September 18-24. It raises awareness to prevent incidents at railroad crossings.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:21 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Representatives from Amtrak and Operation Lifesaver Incorporated (OLI), stressed the importance of railroad safety to residents in Pascagoula on Tuesday at the Pascagoula Train Depot. It was a part of Rail Safety Week.

Rail Safety Week lasts from September 18-24. It raises awareness to prevent incidents at railroad crossings.

Amtrak also announced the return of passenger rail service on the Gulf Coast in 2024, running from Mobile to New Orleans.

It will be the first time a rail service has stopped in Pascagoula since 2005. It’s something Pascagoula resident Tina Hill is ecstatic about.

“I can’t wait,” Hill said. “Whenever I was a little girl, we used to have trains come through and now I mean it’s bringing back.”

Studies show more than two thousand Americans are killed or injured because of inappropriate behavior near train tracks.

That’s why Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari and Operation Lifesaver stressed the importance of railroad safety.

“Your life is worth a couple of minutes,” Magliari said. “There are bells on trains and bright lights to tell people we’re coming. It’s a warning from the crossing and a warning from the train that we’re coming.”

When the new rail service arrives the Gulf Coast will see more trains crossing tracks. That’s why organizations want to educate people about making good decisions near the tracks.

According to Operation Lifesaver, a person is struck by a train every three hours in the United States. That’s why they want the message to be heard all year not just during rail safety week.

“We are proactively trying to educate the motorist, as well as the community about the dangers not just so with highway-rail grade crossings but trespassing incidents as well,” said Kimbler Sloan, Operation Lifesaver Mississippi’s executive director. “We want everybody to know that when they approach a railroad, crossing to look both ways and listen for the train. To know that trains can come in any direction at any time.”

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