Rail Safety Week 2022 kicks off

Annual safety week involves community awareness and education campaigns.

Metrolinx is working with Operation Lifesaver to support Rail Safety Week 2022.

Rail Safety Week is an annual awareness campaign that is held every September across North America.

Transit agencies, safety associations, law enforcement and other groups come together to help educate the public with the goal of preventing incidents.

Rail safety is a shared responsibility. Everyone has a role to play. For Metrolinx, safety is central to everything the transit agency does. From customers to communities and transit staff – safety matters most.

A key part of Metrolinx’s role is introducing safety improvements as GO and UP Express train service is expanded across the region.

Image shows barrier gates closing.
Barriers come down at a crossing at night. (Metrolinx photo)

How is Metrolinx improving safety?

The transit agency has been installing special heavy duty rubber mats that help deter people from walking into restricted areas around train tracks. Metrolinx has upgraded fencing and signage near top spots for trespassing. Many level crossings across the GTHA have also been upgraded with new arms and flashing lights. Some areas are even seeing new bridges and underpasses built that separate trains from pedestrians and traffic – like at Rutherford GO Station.

On top of these concrete steps to improve safety, Metrolinx works with local safety and law enforcement agencies year-round to help spread awareness of appropriate behaviour around tracks and in stations. Rail Safety Week is one of many opportunities to do this.

Here are some of the safety events Metrolinx is participating in for Rail Safety Week 2022:

  • Thomas & Friends book launch event at Union Station – Sept. 17-18
  • Kick-off event at Union Station with Operation Lifesaver – Sept. 20
  • Operation Cleartrack: partnership with law enforcement – Sept. 20 – Sept. 23
    • Metrolinx Customer Protection Officers will be out at GO stations across the region talking to customers and residents about rail safety (Streetsville, Rouge Hill, Danforth, Port Credit, Oshawa)

Showing clear examples of what not to do is one of the best ways to demonstrate the importance of rail safety.

Metrolinx News published two stories earlier this year that highlighted the dangers of playing on or around train tracks, and the need to obey level crossing signals.

In the first story, Metrolinx released video from the front of a GO Train that shows three young people playing on a rail bridge and just narrowly avoiding being hit. It is never okay to cross, play on or around live train tracks.

In the second story, Metrolinx released video of a car being hit by a GO Train after it went around the arms and lights at a railroad crossing – in an attempt to beat the train and save a few minutes. The car was hit, but somehow the driver walked away from the incident without life-altering injuries.

These videos may be disturbing to see but are a stark reminder of the need to be careful around train tracks and to always follow the rules.

To learn more about Rail Safety Week, to access resources and see what other events are happening in your community – head to the Operation Lifesaver webpage.

Story by Scott Money, Metrolinx editorial content manager