Armed with the resources to share public safety information throughout the railroad’s 23-state system, 126 Union Pacific Railroad employees/volunteers have delivered more than 93 rail safety presentations to more than 30,000 pedestrians, motorists and professional truck drivers in 2023.
Union Pacific’s Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety program, known as UP CARES, works to reduce rail accidents by raising rail safety awareness among drivers and pedestrians.
UP CARES volunteers Adam Gonzalez, Joaquin Medina and Jason Posegate, members of Union Pacific’s Engineering team, were recently on-site during the Willcox, Arizona, community’s annual October Rex Allen Days celebration to promote railroad grade crossing and pedestrian safety through a positive message of community collaboration and caring.
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A locomotive simulator placed the public in the driver’s seat, reinforcing the fact that trains can take more than a mile to stop even after emergency brakes are applied.
“It was eye opening for people,” Gonzalez said. “The simulator opened the door for us to have important conversations with children and their parents about railroad safety, and to remind them about the dangers of driving around crossing gates or climbing between or under trains to cross the tracks.
Volunteers handed out free water and 170 UP CARES backpacks containing Union Pacific train whistles, rail safety crossword puzzles and candy.
In Deming, New Mexico, UP CARES volunteers also were in attendance at the Great American Duck Race – a popular summer tradition among community members – to encourage safe behavior around railroad tracks.
Engineering team members David Ritchlin and Roger Essary hosted the railroad’s booth at the event, exemplifying Union Pacific’s Courage to Care message that empowers individuals to protect themselves and others, so everyone can Go Home Safe to their loved ones every day.
“Many of the kids we talked to were unaware of the dangers of being around the tracks and trains,” Essary said. “I believe we put out a great message that will stick with them the rest of their lives.
“The local community got to see the faces of employees that work for Union Pacific and know we care about their community as much as they do.”
To learn the Train Safety Cha Cha or find more information on how to talk to your children and teens about rail safety, visit UPCARES.com.