After Multiple Deaths in 2012, Caltrain Champions Safety in 2013

About 13 people die on Caltrain tracks every year.

On average, there's more than one Caltrain-related death per month.

In November, a man was killed at the Charleston Avenue crossing in Palo Alto in a suspected suicide. June 2011 saw the death of a person in Burlingame with 900 people aboard the train at the time. In 2011, there was a total of 16 Caltrain deaths. 

Caltrain is trying to reverse the trend in 2013 by running its year-long See Something - Say Something campaign "to engage passengers in promoting safety throughout the rail system and reminding customers of safe behavior near the railroad," Caltrain said in an official release.

The objective of the project is to encourage riders to be aware of what's going on at stations and on trains, and to report any unsafe conditions. 

Different safety messages will be promoted each month through social media, at stations on the electric signs and on trains. The January message is "We can all count on a safe ride if we look out for each other.”

Riders are encouraged to call the police if they see anything that may be unsafe. 

Have you ever witnessed a Caltrain emergency? Do you think riders need to be more aware? Tell us in the comments!

relentlesscactus January 14, 2013 at 05:54 PM
The only thing passengers are going to 'see' is the same thing out the window for 2-3 hours while the coroner is called and conducts an investigation. The only thing they are going to 'say' after an hour of this is not printable. The engineers may 'see' something, but it will be too late do 'say' or 'do' anything but hit the brakes and wait for the inevitable. The transit police may 'see' something if they happen to be in the right place at the right time, but that is rare and sheer luck with so few police covering so many miles of railway. Even if there is a volunteer at a crossing such as in Palo Alto, those intent have still 'succeeded' simply by moving down the tracks. I am not saying do nothing, but why can we not admit what is real: these acts continue because the are individual, random and though not rare enough, rare. There is no way to know where to be. My complaint is not with trying, my complaint is trying to link a pointless feel-good campaign to preventing suicides when there is no cause and effect relationship. A slogan dreamed up by a contractor at an ad agency and rubber stamped by a transit bureaucrat shows contempt for the riding public's intelligence. A far more effective strategy is to target those living and working by the tracks. Offer rewards of $100 for tips that result in arrests of trespassers or interventions on those acting suspiciously around the railway, the rewards covered by terminating the contract with the ad agency.
Sharron January 14, 2013 at 08:22 PM
A human being is very precious. However, I do not feel that these people simple walk on the tracks by accident. The majority of these incidents are the same as "death by cop" where a person will goad a police officer into shooting them because they cannot commit suicide on their own. They are very sick individuals. It would be private information, however I am sure if you were able to look in the medical records of these unfortunate individuals you would see that there are mental illnesss issues. However, we are not allowed to see nor should we be allowed to see this info. I feel very sorry for the train operators, police officers and in recent months the drivers on the highways who have hit and killed individuals walking on the freeways at night. It is the same as walking along the tracks. We also have so many people with headphones, talking and texting that they are so engrossed in their technology that they become unaware of a train. Very sad.
relentlesscactus January 14, 2013 at 08:37 PM
I know personally the parents of one of the suicides. They did a great public service in a time of tragedy by immediately stating to the press their son's mental illness. I suspect others were similar but the families were not so open, creating the fear cycle at Gunn where everyone was concerned their children were going to jump in front of a train. There is a simple rule of thumb for railroad deaths, amazingly accurate: Hit facing train: Suicide (in a group: playing a form of 'chicken'); Hit with back to train: earphones on high; Hit from side: trying to beat train across.
michel french January 15, 2013 at 12:49 AM
One of the reasons is simply not paying attention . I was on Caltrain once when we hit a car and dragged it. Apparently the driver had the car extended into the track zone. Fortunately, the driver wasn't killed but the car was wrecked.


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