SAN DIEGO - Danny Lites with the Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCS) visited the San Diego Rotarians on Tuesday to talk about railroad safety especially Operation Lifesaver.
KCS runs 12 to 18 trains a day and carry everything you can think of. From gas and chemicals, to aluminum and lumber as they make their way across the nation.
Texas Operation Lifesaver is taught in order to help prevent deaths and injuries to people. It is the non-profit public rail safety education program in Texas that educates the public while promoting safety.
"You cheat life, not death," Lites said. "When you disregard railroad safety tips. Operation Lifesaver teaches the three e's of safety, education, engineering and enforcement."
According to Lites, there are 4,777 grade crossing associated with KSC; 3,085 public grade crossings and 1,692 private grade crossings.
"There are safety measures in place," Lites said. "These are very powerful (trains) and don't stop immediately."
In 2018, there has been 51 traffic collisions and 26 trespass collisions. As of June 5, 2019, there has been 37 traffic collisions and two trespass collisions.
"Trespassing on railroads is a major problem," Lites said. "Trespassing means passing when the guards are down, walking on tracks and taking pictures on the tracks. While taking pictures on the tracks may look (nice), there's danger involved. There isn't a sidewalk on tracks and (railroad) bridges. If a train comes by there's no way for you to get out...It only takes a second for it to turn into a tragedy."
Lites told Rotarians that the fastest way to stop a train is by calling the USDOT National Crossing Inventory Number that goes straight to Kansas. This number is at every crossing. It is posted on a blue and white Emergency Notification System (ENS). This sign should be posted near the crossing and be clearly visible. The ENS sign includes the name of the railroad that you will need when calling in. Using the information on the ENS sign is the quickest way to notify the railroad of any problem from a stranded vehicle to a problem with the lights and guards.
According to San Diego Mayor Sally Lichtenberger, the city has been talking to representatives of KCS about closing some of the 16 railroads crossings through town.
Lites will be at the Wednesday, June 12 to make a presentation to the San Diego City Council on the San Diego corridor safety and consolidation project. The meeting will be at the City Hall located at 404 South Mier.