Did You Know… Be Prepared – Don’t be a Victim

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Did You Know…

Since 2007, there have been 2,483 “Highway-rail incident” deaths (as categorized by the Federal Railroad Administration). The majority of those incidents and deaths occurred at locations where a road or street crosses a railroad. There are over 209,000 such crossings in the US; about 130,000 of those involve public roads. While some of those deaths are the result of irresponsible behavior, many incidents occur because the highway drivers or passengers don’t know how to report a problem they may be having at a railroad crossing.

There is an Emergency Notification System (ENS) sign posted at highway/railroad crossings. That sign includes two vital pieces of information; a phone number for the railroad control center responsible for monitoring that specific crossing and the US Department of Transportation numeric identifier for that crossing. If your vehicle becomes stalled or stuck on a railroad crossing, you can call that phone number and be assured that the control center will take action to prevent any train on that track from hitting your vehicle (assuming that such an impact is minutes – not seconds – away).

Important Information

The phone number on the ENS sign connects you directly to the person who can take action most quickly.

The crossing identifier number is a unique number assigned to that crossing, and railroad control centers are intimately familiar with the crossings for which they are responsible.

Providing local identifiers (such as street names or local points of reference such as, “The crossing by Farmer Bill’s back forty” or “the crossing on 127th avenue east of Elm Street”) is not useful since the control center personnel may be thousands of miles away and are not familiar with local geography.Local 911 operators cannot communicate directly with trains and can do no more than replay information from you to the railroad control center (that you should have called in the first place).
There is no “master” railroad control center that can be contacted for any crossing – that’s why the ENS includes the specific control center phone number and crossing identifier.

Railroad crossings are monitored by the railroad company that owns the track – not the company that owns any specific train or train cars using that track – the ENS phone number connects you to the right railroad control center.

Bottom line:

  • Know about Emergency Notification System signs.
  • Call the ENS provided phone number when you have a problem.
  • Provide the crossing identifier number.
  • Then call AAA (or whoever is going to tow your vehicle off the track).

Be prepared – don’t be a victim.

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