The Fourth Annual Rail Safety Week is underway! From September 21-27, 2020 Rio Metro is joining railroad companies and operators in the U.S., Mexico and Canada in an effort to raise awareness about rail safety education and empower the public to keep themselves safe near railroad tracks, crossings, and right-of-ways.
Rail Safety Week is spearheaded by Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), an international non-profit educational program. The organization encourages local partners to participate by hosting campaigns and outreach events – which will all be virtual this year – to increase rail safety awareness.
Rail Safety Week in Central New Mexico
Rio Metro Regional Transit District, which operates the New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter train, is ramping up educational efforts during this year’s Rail Safety Week.
This year’s campaign includes a mixture of national and local messaging, and a series of new safety videos featuring Trax, the Rail Runner mascot.
Watch the Videos
In addition to the videos, Rio Metro is sharing safety tips and resources on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our website. Follow us to stay informed!
Operation Lifesaver & Rail Safety Week Across the State
Joanne Beer is the Executive Director of New Mexico Operation Lifesaver, and has been an OLI volunteer since 2007.
“When I was hired at the Las Cruces Railroad Museum in 2007, they thought it would be a good idea to teach me about this program to educate our visitors,” says Beer. “I started giving presentations to all of the groups that came through the museum, and to the schools. In 2014, I became the New Mexico Operation Lifesaver Executive Director.”
Beer’s role involves training and coordinating volunteers throughout the state to give rail safety presentations, doing the annual report, and applying for grants from OLI International.
“Before COVID, our volunteers participated in a lot of community safety fairs and train shows, and gave school presentations,” says Beer.
As in-person events aren’t currently happening due to the health pandemic, Beer and her team of volunteers are concentrating on other ways to spread the message of being safe around the tracks. “Right now, we are doing some virtual training,” she says.
New Mexico Operation Lifesaver is also doing Public Service Announcements in conjunction with Rail Safety Week.
“The PSAs will be on the radio in Carlsbad and Gallup where we have a lot of trespassers,” says Beer.
According to Beer, other companies around the state, such as BNSF and Amtrak, typically participate in OLI’s Rail Safety Week.
Joanne's Safety Tip
When asked what rail safety message she would like to share with the public, Beer says, “See Tracks, Think Train. Whenever you see railroad tracks, expect to see a train from any direction at any time.”