Hank's Take: Rail Safety Week

- It’s Rail Safety Week across the US and in Camden police oversee the light rail crossing at the Transportation Center, but they can’t be everywhere.  

Nestor DeJesus says it’s wrong, but he’ll sometimes walk the tracks to save time.  Some days I’m late, so I take the track.  I take chances, even though it’s a $500 fine,” says Nestor, who’s waiting for a light rail train.   “It’s way quicker , but it’s dangerous.”

At least he’s honest, and Nestor’s not the only one. I drove to a different Camden, Camden-Wyoming, Delaware, to talk to Bob Perrine, who runs Delaware’s Operation Lifesaver rail safety program.   “If that train’s approaching you from behind you, and you’re walking along the tracks?” says Perrine, who’s handing out rail safety leaflets by a crossing with his wife, Becky.    “By the time you can hear it, it’s too late to get out of the way.”

Nearly a thousand casualties nationwide to trespassers on the rails last year, according to Operation Lifesaver.   That’s injuries and fatalities and Bob says that represents a shift.   “For the first time ever, there were more incidents due to rail trespassing than there were at crossings,” he says.   “So that’s huge when you think of the 100 plus years, 150 years, that we’ve had railroads.”

This applies to you.  Pennsylvania’s 5th in the nation in those numbers.   New Jersey?   Tenth.  That’s why you hear about people getting hit a lot because it happens a lot.  And it’s not because there aren’t signs up, they’re everywhere--no trespassing signs, fast train signs, electricity signs.  You know what railroad tracks are, and you know to stay off them.   So stay off them, and stay alive.  End of sermon – I’m Hank – and that’s my take.

 

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