Study: Pa. has 4th highest number of railroad trespass deaths

SEPTA train
Rikard Larma/Metro. Better get out of the way!

Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation when it comes to the number of railroad trespasser fatalities and third in terms of trespasser injuries, according to a report released yesterday by rail safety nonprofit Operation Lifesaver of Pennsylvania.

“We’re number four – that’s a sad commentary,” director Don Lubinsky said yesterday.

“We just have a lot of people who don’t understand it takes quite a long time for a train to stop. You have 10,000 tons going 50 miles per hour – it takes over a mile and a half to stop.”

The number of injuries sustained by trespassers on Pennsylvania railroad tracks and properties rose a staggering 23.5 percent last year, while trespasser deaths increased 21.7 percent during the same time. In contrast, collisions at highway-grade rail crossings fell.

“Part of the reason pedestrian trespass casualties are on the increase is people have been moving into areas that are adjacent to railroad tracks and they were never adjacent to railroad tracks before,” Lubinsky said.

SEPTA director of system safety and risk management Scott Sauer said he’s noticed a similar trend in Philadelphia.

“In recent years, we have seen trespass incidents going up on our side as well, with people being struck by on-track equipment – pedestrians, more or less, walking on the railroad,” Sauer said.

He said he doesn’t know what to blame for the uptick, but did note that about 50 percent of SEPTA trespasser deaths are suicides.

“All in all, walking on railroad property and the romance of railroads has been around as long as we’ve had railroads,” Sauer said.

“You see stuff in newspapers – people having their wedding photos taken on train tracks, people having their class photos taken on train tracks – I shudder to think how bad that could turn out if they’re taking it at the wrong time.”

SEPTA and Operation Lifesaver have partnered to offer numerous rider safety education outreach efforts like instructional programs at schools and community centers.

“It’s a very simple process,” Lubinsky said. “It’s not as if a train jumps out of the bushes and gets you – it’s big, it’s bad, it makes lots of noise and you just have to be aware if you’re on a track when a train is coming, you’re going to get hit.”

By the numbers

>> 28 railroad trespassers were killed in Pennsylvania last year, a 21.7% increase from the year before.

>> 21 railroad trespassers were injured in the state last year, a 23.5% increase from 2011.

>> Collisions at highway-grade crossings fell 4.8% in the state last year, reaching 60 during 2012.

>> Only 4 people were killed last year at highway-grade rail crossings.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…