The Vermont Agency of Transportation - Railroad Safety
Greetings. In my capacity as State Coordinator for Operation Lifesaver of Vermont, Inc.(OLVT), a rail safety education organization assisted by VTrans, I am writing to seek your advice and support in reaching all members of your communities with respect to rail safety and the new Ethan Allen Express service. Although this message is primarily directed to town clerks whose communities are along the new corridor, I am sharing this with all of you for your information as many of you have existing freight and/or passenger rail service either with the Ethan Allen Express or the Vermonter.
As you may have seen in the news and on social media, OLVT and VTrans have been conducting public outreach to inform the public of several highly concerning trespass incidents reported by Vermont Rail System and Amtrak throughout the new corridor. People are walking their dogs or walking and jogging along the tracks as if the tracks are a recreational trail. These sightings have primarily occurred within minutes of the Amtrak train moving through the area at speeds of up to 59 mph. (Although service will not begin until July, Amtrak is conducting qualifying runs for crew and for the route now.) VTrans has had considerable success with two Facebook posts on this issue, earning 360,000 engagements combined.
Since the incidents last week, a grandfather was found walking along the Amtrak tracks with his 6-year-old grandson, heading to a train trestle bridge to sit and fish, minutes before Amtrak came through. He was unaware of Amtrak, the fact that they were trespassing, or the danger posed by high-speed passenger trains.
I am including a link to a comprehensive PowerPoint and a video on rail safety facts which is the basis of many OLVT presentations. OLVT offers free presentations to schools, business and other groups on request and is currently working on a video presentation which we will provide to you all as soon as possible.
Operation Lifesaver, Inc. uses vimeo for videos. The Interest of Safety video may be viewed here:
The slides for the PowerPoint and numerous other videos, PSAs and documents are available on the OLI website under materials: https://oli.org/materials.
Please let me know if you have any questions and/or suggestions for this outreach.
Toni Hamburg Clithero
Amtrak Grants Program Manager
State Coordinator, Operation Lifesaver of Vermont, Inc.
Vermont Agency of Transportation
Barre City Place
219 N. Main Street, Barre, VT 05641