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Railroad Safety

The national leader with 64 operating railroads, Pennsylvania continues to educate motorists and pedestrians on the importance of railroad safety through Operation Lifesaver. Operation Lifesaver is an international, nonprofit education and awareness program dedicated to ending tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights of way. To accomplish its mission, Operation Lifesaver promotes 3 E's: Education, Enforcement and Engineering.

Driving and Pedestrian Safety Tips

In 2022, there were 63 crashes at rail crossings, resulting in four fatalities and 25 injuries — 21 of these crashes involved a train. This compares to 61 crashes, three fatalities and 16 injuries in 2021 — 24 of these crashes involved a train.

These safety tips and other railroad safety information available through Operation Lifesaver can help you stay safe around Pennsylvania's railroads.

  • Never drive around lowered gates — it's illegal and deadly.
  • Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks. Only proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is 3 feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle ever stalls on a track while a train is coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming.
  • At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching in either direction.
  • Always expect a train! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. A freight train moving 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop. That's 18 football fields!
  • Do not be fooled — the train you see is closer and moving faster than you think.
  • When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping.
  • Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
  • Never walk down a train track; it's illegal and it's dangerous.
  • Remember: Rails and recreation do not mix!

For more information about Operation Lifesaver and to request a free presentation, visit Pennsylvania's Operation Lifesaver website.