Train safety is a serious issue and not one to be treated lightly. Many people in the Chicagoland area rely on trains for their day-to-day traveling, including the CTA el and Metra commuter train. While the trains are a great mode of transportation that are convenient and affordable, we must always remember that these are still giant vehicles that move at very high speeds, and thus should use caution when around them, getting on and off trains, and waiting at train platforms.
According to a recent article by Patch, a commuter was struck by a Metra train near Lisle. Police relayed it is unclear whether this was an accident or an incident of self-harm. The incident occurred in the late afternoon, when a train and pedestrian collided. The train, Inbound No. 1272, hit the person east of the Lisle station.
Operation Lifesaver stresses that not only is it illegal to walk on tracks, it can save your life and keep you from danger. While commuter trains may have a schedule, they can be early or late, so regardless of a posted schedule, stay away from tracks except for designated crossings. Be sure that it is safe to cross and that a conductor or track signal gives you the go-ahead to cross the tracks. However, while commuter trains may have a schedule, remember that freight trains do not. They do not travel at fixed times, so always look for and expect the possibility of a train at a rail crossing or highway-rail intersection. Furthermore even when you are not crossing tracks but simply standing near them waiting for a train or waiting to pass, it is important to keep your distance. A train can actually extend three feet or more over the steel rail, so it is important to keep a wide zone of safety from the train tracks. It is also imperative to always be alert when around train tracks. Avoid being on your phone, texting, or listening to music and any activity that would distract you and take attention away from your safety.
Furthermore, remember that trains have the right of way. These large vehicles are traveling long distance at high speeds and cannot come to an immediate stop. Operation Lifesaver explains that by the time a locomotive engineer sees a person or vehicle on the tracks, it is too late to come to a stop. It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile’s length to come to a stop. This is the length of 18 football fields needed to come to a stop. That is why a train cannot stop in time to avoid a collision with a pedestrian or vehicle.
Because so many Chicagoans rely on railroad transportation, we urge our readers and members of the community to be safe and heed rules of the railroad. Collisions with trains can be preventable when following the rules and practicing safety. Let’s work together to keep Chicagoland a safe place for commuters and the railroads less dangerous.