🚝 NJ kicking off rail safety awareness campaign
🚝 Dozens of people were killed or injured last year
🚝 The DOT will spend grant money on See tracks, think Trains ads

Earlier this week NJ Transit suspended service on the Northeast Corridor line for hours because of a report of children playing on railroad tracks.

Service suspensions take place more frequently than you might imagine because New Jersey is so densely populated and many rail lines throughout the state are close to residential areas.

According to Barbara Foran, a principal engineer in the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Railroad Engineering Safety Unit, the state has received $40,000 in Operation Lifesaver grant money to spread the word about rail safety.

FILE - In this March 4, 2016 file photo, New Jersey Transit passengers board a train at Seacaucus Junction in Seacaucus, N.J. Trains run by New Jersey Transit, which operates the nation’s second-largest commuter railroad, have been involved in 157 accidents since the start of 2011, three times as many as the largest, the Long Island Rail Road, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from January 2011 through July 2016. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

See tracks, think trains

She said the money will be used to place “See Tracks, Think Trains” awareness banners and decals around the state, and promote rail safety messages on mobile digital displays that remind the public "every 3 hours a person or a vehicle is hit by a train in the U.S."

She said it’s important to remind people to be careful around train tracks because "we have approximately 1,550-grade crossings in the state of New Jersey, distraction is a very big issue, it’s a very big concern."

A train at NJ Transit's Hamilton station
A train at NJ Transit's Hamilton station (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Trains are more quiet than you think

Foran stressed trains today are quieter and faster than people think so "whenever you’re near train tracks you should always expect a train, trains can run on any track at any time from either direction."

According to Federal Railroad Administration data there were a total of 28 train-related incidents in New Jersey last year.

9 trespassers were killed on train tracks and 9 others were injured, and there were 5 fatalities involving people in vehicles hit by trains, while 8 others in cars were injured.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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