Gallery Becomes Safety PSA
Inspired by Facebook posts seen recently which depicted persons on or around railroad tracks, we invited you to share similar photos that you may have had taken, so that we could create a gallery to post on the website.
On Saturday morning we posted the gallery titled "You On
The Tracks." On Saturday evening we received an email from Mary Warner-Stone, Director of Durand Union Station, Inc., who shared some concerns about the gallery.
While she was complimentary of our new website and the
photos that were submitted, she reminded us that it is "illegal and dangerous to walk or hang out on the tracks."
She invited us to be a part of the upcoming quarterly meeting for the non-profit group, Operation Lifesaver, on November 9th at Durand Union Station. Their meetings include guest speakers from different railroads and government officials that speak on topics of railroad safety.
After some consideration upon receiving Mary's email, we decided that this would be a good opportunity to share Operation Lifesaver's message; by transforming our gallery into a public service announcement of sorts.
A recent article posted on OperationLifesaver.org included an advisement to media regarding the 'romanticizing' of photos taken on or near railroad tracks, and while we do love the photos that were posted in our gallery and, innocently enough, intended to highlight those in our community who share a common love of trains, railroads, Durand and our city's heritage, we must concede that the danger trains and train tracks present is very real.
In the past three months alone, there have been several train-pedestrian deaths in mid-Michigan, including one within the past 2 weeks.
September 2nd: 43-year-old Man Hit By Train; Dies
August 9th: SW Michigan Woman Killed When Train Runs Over Her
July 9th: Train Strikes, Kills Female In Fenton
Last month, two 19 year old best friends and recent high school graduates in Maryland that were simply sitting on a bridge that trains cross over were killed when a passing train derailed and it's coal load spilled, crushing them.
The Federal Railroad Administration indicates that through the first five months of this year, 178 people have been killed in accidents on or near tracks. This figure does not include incidents at railroad crossings. Marmie Edwards, spokeswoman for Operation Lifesaver, says the number of fatalities in 2012 involving people on tracks is up significantly.^
So here we are with a stack of really great photos but today we're not just building a gallery with them, we're sharing a very important message: It is illegal and dangerous to walk or hang out on the tracks. Does that mean that you can't take or submit photos with you and railroad tracks? No. In fact, we'd love to have more photos to add to our gallery. But, in the future, if you want railroad tracks in your photos, snap the pics at designated public crossings or get permission from the owner of the tracks, and most importantly, be safe, not a statistic.
Posted: 9:37pm 9/16/12