Caltrain’s annual rail safety month observation will culminate with a safety-themed film festival that highlights the ways to stay safe while of living, working and going to school near an active railroad. Caltrain’s board on Sept. 6 adopted a proclamation highlighting the importance of Railroad Safety Month.
In cooperation with Fresh Takes teen filmmakers, Caltrain developed a series of rail safety video “vignettes” that reinforce positive behaviors and point out unsafe actions near train tracks. The brief video clips will serve as short public service announcements (PSAs)and will be premiered at a film festival in Cinemark 20 in downtown Redwood City, Calif., at 3 p.m., Sept. 26. The festival is open to the public.
The film festival is being held in memory of 16-year old Donae Johnican who died while attempting to cross the tracks in San Jose. He was not using a marked pedestrian crossing and was wearing headphones at the time of the accident. Operation Lifesaver lists distraction as one of the primary factors contributing to rail-related accidents and deaths.
The agency addresses safety through a comprehensive, ongoing program that focuses on the “three E’s of railroad safety” - education, enforcement and engineering. But finding new ways to communicate these important messages can be challenging. To address this challenge, Caltrain partnered with Fresh Takes, a youth digital arts center located in Redwood City, a few blocks from the Caltrain station.
Following the premiere, Caltrain will use the PSAs in public presentations, online and through other forums to reach a wider audience with the rail safety messages.
As an active member of Operation Lifesaver, Caltrain offers a free education program for community organizations, schools and businesses on the Peninsula highlighting safe practices to keep in mind when near the tracks.
In addition, Caltrain has invested millions of dollars in engineering projects that improve safety on the railroad.
Caltrain’s commitment to safety extends far beyond September, with a year-round, day-in, day-out emphasis on safety around trains and train tracks. The agency is constantly working to improve the safety of the rail corridor through enforcement campaigns in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, rail corridor fencing projects and by improving safety at stations.