JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
As you exit the Washington Blvd. Traffic Circle on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, you may have noticed a train stopped with a severely damaged vehicle next to it. The 733d Mission Support Group utility rail branch set up the display to show what can happen when drivers don’t pay attention at railroad crossings.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours, leaving more than 2,100 people killed or injured annually. The nonprofit organization Operation Lifesaver recognizes the third week of September as Rail Safety week, to educate the public on safety to reduce rail collisions, injuries, and fatalities.
“There are 44 railroad crossings on JBLE,” said William Grimes, 733d MSG utility rail branch railway operations supervisor. “All of these crossings are passive, so they put the responsibility of looking out for a train onto the vehicle operator or pedestrian. Our trains mostly operate at 10 miles per hour, with some sections of the base operating at 35 mph. Remember, a train is bound to the track- it can’t swerve to miss an obstruction.”
According to Grimes, trains on JBLE will sound their horn four times before approaching a crossing, and trains are painted with high visibility paint to make them easy to see. For more information on rail safety, go to www.oli.org.