UP, Operation Lifesaver Campaign Urges Pedestrians to Use Common Sense Around Railroad Tracks

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Look both ways before crossing! Many of us heard this warning as children and common sense says to heed it when crossing streets.That same warning applies when crossing railroad tracks, where not looking can have deadly consequences. Union Pacific Railroad and Operation Lifesaver have joined forces in San Antonio to launch a bilingual awareness campaign aimed at promoting safety around railroad tracks.  The campaign, which runs through September, reminds Alamo City residents to use common sense when approaching railroad tracks. The Common Sense Campaign is specifically aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds, the group most likely to be involved in railroad-related pedestrian casualties, according to national statistics.

“It can take a mile or more for a train to stop, so it is critical that people look both ways before crossing railroad tracks in designated areas,” said Brian Gorton, general superintendent for Union Pacific’s San Antonio service unit.

The Common Sense Campaign combines radio commercials, internet advertisements, posters and an interactive Web site to explain that being on private railroad property not only is dangerous but considered trespassing. Radio ads will air in English and Spanish for five weeks on The Beat 98.5 FM and Estereo Latino 92.9 FM.

Advertisements emphasize that just as people wouldn’t swim with sharks or stand on a busy airport runway, they shouldn’t cross railroad tracks without looking. The scenarios are followed by rail safety tips such as:

  • Cross railroad tracks only at a public crossing-designated by lights, gates or x-shaped crossbucks.
  • Turn off cell phones and MP3 players when approaching train tracks.
  • Stop, look both ways and listen for trains before crossing train tracks.
  • Expect a train at all times.

“This targeted rail safety approach will educate the San Antonio community and hopefully help save lives,” said Sally Tingle, executive director of Operation Lifesaver’s Texas chapter.

As part of the Common Sense Campaign, Union Pacific employees are reaching out to young people at concerts featuring popular hip-hop and Spanish regional musical acts. Employees staff Operation Lifesaver awareness booths packed with promotional items such as t-shirts that read, “I brake for trains because they can’t brake for me.”

“The San Antonio Police Department strongly supports Union Pacific’s campaign regarding rail-related safety. Accidents can be prevented by using caution and staying alert,” said San Antonio Police Chief William P. McManus.

Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit safety education group, launched the Common Sense Campaign in Washington D.C. on June 24. Union Pacific’s support brought the campaign to San Antonio. More information can be found at www.ibrakefortrains.com.