International Rail Safety Day is Thursday

With train-automobile collisions increasing nationwide, June 9 will be considered the first International Rail Safety Day.

Partnering with organizations in Europe, the Alabama Department of Public Safety, the Alabama Operation Lifesaver program and co-sponsor the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum will host an educational railroad safety event at the Calera Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum.

“Alabama is No. 7 in the country for vehicle-train collisions,” said Nancy Hudson, executive director of Alabama Operation Lifesavers.

“I think this is very important,” said Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer. “In all my experiences, a vast majority of the time it’s the driver’s error thinking they can beat the train and make it across the tracks before the train comes – it’s hard to stop a train.”

It’s very important that people adhere to the train crossings and be cautious Fulmer said.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  There will be free train rides, a moonwalk, car seat checks, bicycle and pedestrian safety, the no-zone safety program, Alabama Dept of Public Safety displays, snacks, and a variety of other activities.

“Everyone in the entire state is invited,” said Hudson. “Events will go on around the country and the world to promote awareness and safety at railroad crossings. We’re looking forward to it, and hoping it will have a good turnout.”

There will be opportunities for interviews and photos with locomotive engineers, first responders and volunteers for the Alabama Operation Lifesaver program.

“The train has the right of way,” said Fulmer. “Look both ways down the tracks before crossing them.”

“Always expect a train at every single railroad crossing,” said Hudson. “Pedestrians are to never walk on the railroad tracks.”

The Alabama Operations Lifesaver organization also offers free safety presentations to schools and businesses. Those who are interested or for more information, contact Nancy Hudson at 205-285-4655 or via email at alol@att.net.

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