Operation Lifesaver Celebrates 50 Years of Rail Safety Education, Welcomes 50th Anniversary Amtrak Commemorative Locomotive and International Level Crossing Awareness Day Conference to Denver
DENVER, CO, June 8, 2022 – Rail safety education is a necessity in Colorado and throughout the nation. Every 3 hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train. In Colorado each year, approximately 34 people are killed or injured in grade crossing and trespassing incidents. Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), the non-profit rail safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks, works to prevent these needless incidents from happening.
Visiting Denver this week is a specially painted Amtrak P-42 diesel locomotive, emblazoned on both sides with the message, “See Tracks? Think Train!” The locomotive was released into service earlier this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Operation Lifesaver and share the rail safety message across the nation.
“Over the past five decades, Operation Lifesaver and its partners have helped reduce railroad crossing incidents by 84 percent, from 12,000 in 1972, the year Operation Lifesaver started, to 1,900 in 2020. But there is still work to be done,” Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) Executive Director Rachel Maleh said. “We welcome the commemorative locomotive to Denver as we kick off the International Level Crossing Awareness Day conference in Denver later today and welcome rail safety partners from around the world gathering together to stop track tragedies.”
Joining Operation Lifesaver in Denver this week are international rail safety experts representing the 3 E’s – Education, Engineering and Enforcement.
“The Federal Railroad Administration is pleased to celebrate Operation Lifesaver’s 50th anniversary as well as our long-term partnership,” stated Karl Alexy, Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety & Chief Safety Officer. “FRA’s work with Operation Lifesaver supports our mission to enable the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods. As the Amtrak locomotive behind me states, ‘See Tracks? Think Train!’”
Said International Union of Railways (UIC) Senior Advisor, Safety and Interoperability, Isabelle Fonverne, “International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) is a worldwide initiative to improve awareness of level crossing safety. Since 2009 the campaign has been spearheaded by UIC, the worldwide railway organisation, with the support of the railway community around the world. Learn more about ILCAD at ilcad.org. We are honored to be here to welcome the Operation Lifesaver locomotive to Denver. Together, we can #STOPTrackTragedies.”
“As Chair of the OLI board I am impressed with the organization’s steadfast commitment to the rail safety message over the years. Our reach has expanded thanks to the efforts of our state coordinators across the country, our federal and private partners as well as the work of staff and my fellow board members,” stated Jo Strang, Senior VP Safety, Regulatory and Environmental Policy at the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. “Thank you to Amtrak for their continued partnership in sharing the rail safety message and for supporting Operation Lifesaver’s 50th anniversary with this commemorative locomotive that travels across the country sharing the rail safety message in a very visual way,” Strang continued.
“We urge everyone to join us in stopping track tragedies, making the safe choice around tracks and trains and by taking the rail safety pledge on our website, oli.org. We will continue with our mission critical work until the number of crossing and trespass incidents throughout the nation reaches zero,” Maleh concluded.
Operation Lifesaver offers free virtual or in-person rail safety presentations tailored to each audience to include photographers, truck drivers, K-12 students, new drivers, first responders, community groups and more. Sign up for a presentation at oli.org.
About Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
Operation Lifesaver, which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1972, is a non-profit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. In 1986 the non-profit Operation Lifesaver, Inc.national office was created to help support and coordinate the efforts of state Operation Lifesaver programs, saving lives by sharing rail safety messages with audiences across the U.S. and beyond. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more about Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on social media via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, PinterestandYouTube.