Vermonter rerouted to provide service to Greenfield and Northampton starting Dec. 29
WASHINGTON – In preparation for the Amtrak Vermonter service that is being rerouted through the Knowledge Corridor starting Dec. 29, Amtrak has been actively reaching out to local authorities and meeting with community groups and schools in an effort to raise public visibility on rail safety awareness.
The Vermonter will travel on a new route through western Massachusetts, providing passenger rail service to Greenfield, Northampton and eventually Holyoke, Mass.
“This reroute brings Amtrak service to new communities and with it the opportunity to inform, educate and change behavior about rail safety,” said Michael Logue, Amtrak Chief Safety Officer. “Our goal is to make sure everyone realizes that when you SEE TRACKS, THINK TRAIN. If you are on or near the tracks outside of an approved grade-crossing or station, you are likely in a trespassing situation and may even be breaking the law.”
Amtrak has a team of three community resource officers assigned to raising rail safety awareness in the Knowledge Corridor. The teams have met with local police departments, community groups and schools and will continue to spread the safety message well into the new year.
The team has given more than 100 presentations to 50 schools in the area, warning them to stay away from the tracks and right-of-way, while making sure they understand the meaning of railroad crossing signs and the stopping distances of trains. Train speed is set by Pan Am Southern Railway which owns and maintains the tracks.
“As a former locomotive engineer, there is nothing more chilling than seeing trespassers on or around the tracks or watching a vehicle trying to beat a train across the tracks at a highway rail grade crossing knowing the train may not be able to stop in enough time to avoid a
collision,” Logue stressed.
Community resource officers have also worked with various schools to send rail safety messages to the parents of students using district wide letters, automated phone calls and text messages, posts on district websites and school webpages, as well as including information in
school newsletters. The team is working with local driver’s education classes to include a rail safety component as part of their training curriculum.
The Amtrak Police Department has also been conducting positive enforcement grade crossing awareness events, where officers pass out literature at rail grade crossings educating motorists to approach with care, prepare to stop, look both ways and listen, and not to enter a
crossing unless you can get completely through.
Outreach efforts utilize material and rail safety information provided by Operation Lifesaver, a national non-profit organization dedicated to reducing railroad-related deaths and injuries.
The restoration of train service to the Knowledge Corridor is a project of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Passengers may book travel for this service via Amtrak.com, mobile apps or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.
Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at blog.amtrak.com.