Responding to spate of train deaths, SEPTA to hold training

Posted: May 01, 2013

TO REDUCE the number of trespassers who die on its rails, SEPTA will hold its first-ever Safety Awareness Day during morning rush tomorrow, sending 500 staffers to 160 regional rail, subway and trolley stations to warn riders that a trespass can be a TransPass to a violent end.

SEPTA had 111 rail deaths from 2003 to 2012 on its regional rail (74 deaths), subway (27) and trolley (10) lines - including 41 confirmed suicides. There have been eight rail deaths in 2013, including two confirmed suicides.

Scott Sauer, SEPTA's system safety director, said that by the time a trespasser sees a train coming, it's too late. "It takes several hundred to several thousand feet to come to a stop," he said. "Metal wheels on metal rails. It's not going to stop in time."

A typical Silverliner V train weighs anywhere from 219 tons (three railcars) to 438 tons (six railcars), so at 60 mph, any human being that it hits will explode.

Sauer said that a train can barrel down any track at any time in any direction. People who have lived in an area near tracks for years and trespass on the rails, thinking they know when and from which direction trains will come, may be making a fatal mistake, he said.


On Twitter: @DanGeringer

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