Langevin, Kennedy and Amtrak Kick Off Rail Safety Awareness Program

Jun 4, 2001

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.)-Congressmen Jim Langevin and Patrick Kennedy and Amtrak today hosted a kick-off ceremony at the Providence Train Station for a rail safety program, just in time for school vacation.  Representatives from Amtrak will visit area schools during the month of June to educate young Rhode Islanders about the dangers of playing near railroad tracks.  

Amtrak will deliver the rail safety program to students at Norwood Elementary School, Warwick; Stony Lane Elementary School, North Kingstown; Winters Elementary School, Pawtucket; and Coleman Elementary School in Woonsocket.

Amtrak is a founding member of Operation Lifesaver, a national coalition of railroads established to promote railroad safety. Each year Amtrak participates in Operation Lifesaver's program to conduct railroad safety presentations at schools, civic centers and other key sites in our communities.  Last month, Amtrak began a series of media events throughout the Northeast Corridor to unveil Operation Lifesaver' s new Public Service Announcement campaign. Increased awareness of the dangers involved when people venture onto railroad tracks is crucial as children are dismissed from school for summer vacation and have more unsupervised time outside.

 “I am pleased that Amtrak has taken a proactive approach to promoting rail safety this summer among young, adventurous Rhode Islanders,” said Congressman Langevin.  “While Rhode Island is far below the national average for trespassing accidents, there is still a great risk to children playing on or near rail tracks.  The message should be clear:  no Rhode Islander, young or old, should consider railroad track areas places of recreation.”

 "It's the absolutely perfect time of year for Amtrak to launch such a great program,” said Congressman Kennedy.  “With the increased traffic on the rails, and so many kids who like to play around the tracks, Amtrak's doing a great service to families who could have a tragedy on their hands if an accident did occur.  Let's hope that this summer, Rhode Island is spared any accidents.  I congratulate Amtrak for their foresight and commitment to this effective program."

 "Railroad safety is a community issue and Amtrak is committed to its role as a significant partner," said Ron Frazier, Esq., Chief of Amtrak Police.  "Throughout the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak has joined community organizations and schools to alter persistent public perceptions that it's o.k. to cross railroad tracks."

 Students in both of Rhode Island’s Congressional Districts will be provided with a demonstration by Amtrak officials on the dangers of playing near rail tracks.  The program will include a presentation by Amtrak Police personnel with brochures and pamphlets explaining the consequences of trespassing on rail property.

 According to the most recent data available from the Federal Railroad Administration, during the months of January and February of this year, there were 67 trespassing fatalities nationwide.  In 2000, there were a total of 463* trespassing fatalities; in 1999, 479 fatalities.

 This rail safety program is targeted to preventing trespassing fatalities along Rhode Island’s rail corridors.  With proper education from Amtrak officials, students living in rail areas will be taught the dangers of exploring rail tracks.

 The Congressmen and Amtrak were joined by two classes of 4th graders from Winters Elementary School in Pawtucket, their principal Larry D’Young, Coleman Elementary Principal George Nasuti, Woonsocket Deputy Superintendent of School Maureen Macera; a 4th grade class from John Brown Francis Elementary School in Warwick and Warwick Councilman Donald Torres.