The U.S. freight rail network is made up of nearly 140,000 miles of track, traversing serene landscapes and busy cities. Often, children, teens and adults can be found walking the tracks, cutting across them as a short cut and/or posing for photos, without knowing these three simple facts:
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- Trains are at least 3 feet wider than the tracks on either side.
- Modern trains are quieter than people might think.
- Once a train starts to brake, it can take up to 1 mile for the train to come to a complete stop.
“National Rail Safety Week is the perfect time for families to sit down and stress the importance of being alert and distraction free around railroad tracks,” said Connie Roseberry, assistant vice president and chief safety officer. “There are a variety of tools available to help make these conversations fun and engaging and, most importantly, they can help save lives.”
In collaboration with Safe Kids Worldwide, a national key partner through Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program, free, downloadable content is available for educators, parents and caregivers on the online Rail Safety Station. The hub helps create parent and community advocates by providing fact sheets, lesson plans, activity sheets, videos and opportunities to share personal experiences.
“Every five days a child is killed in a train collision, but there are proven steps communities and parents can take to protect their children,” said Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide. “We’re thrilled to join Union Pacific and Chuggington during Rail Safety Week to raise awareness, provide lifesaving resources and encourage all parents to talk to their kids about railroad safety and to model safe behavior themselves.”
To help create safe habits at an early age, the stars of “Chuggington,” an animated TV series following the adventures of three young train engines, Wilson, Koko and Brewster, deliver content highlighting three key rail safety messages to stay safe around trains and railroad tracks:
- Don’t walk along train tracks. Walking near or on tracks is against the law and trains can overhang tracks by at least 3 feet.
- Cross railroad tracks only at places marked by crossbuck lights or a gate. Look for lights at a gate and look both ways before you cross.
- Wait for the train to pass. When lights are flashing or the gates are down, wait for the train to pass. Even if you are in a hurry, do not try to beat the train by rushing across the tracks.
The Chuggington partnership provides a variety of additional resources, including a rail safety PSA and a dedicated website at Chuggington.com/RailSafety featuring a customizable Rail Safety Pledge and a variety of downloadable activity sheets for parents, teachers and schools.
The Chuggington partnership also includes support from GoNoodle, a kids’ online hub providing children in classrooms and at home an outlet for community wellness, physical health, mindfulness and much more. Through the partnership, downloadable activities and free resources will be provided on the importance of railroad safety in an engaging way for children to learn and have fun. Find more at rail safety PSA and Chuggington.com/RailSafety.