Travel and Health Precautions Advised
WASHINGTON – June is National Safety Month and Amtrak is using the annual observance to remind the public of the importance of railroad safety onboard trains, in stations and around tracks this summer.
“Safety will forever be indispensable, and we continue to take action to make Amtrak the safest passenger railroad in the U.S.,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said. “In addition to heightening awareness of critical safety information, we recognize customers are ready to travel again with family, friends and colleagues. We want to assure the public that we have implemented vital safety measures for everyone’s well-being.”
For customers planning to travel with Amtrak this summer, here is what to keep in mind:
What Amtrak is doing:
A number of cleaning, contact-free, and convenience measures have been implemented into every part of the customer journey, including:
- When searching for travel, customers will see the percentage of seats sold that adjusts next to each route as passengers make reservations. This will give customers the opportunity to book a train that is less crowded. If capacity exceeds comfort levels, customers can change their ticket without incurring a fee. There are also no middle seats, making the ride more relaxing and spacious.
- All trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every 4-5 minutes.
- Federal law requires all customers and employees to wear a mask at all times while onboard trains and in stations, regardless of vaccination status or state or local laws. Refusing to wear a mask is a violation of federal law; passengers may be subject to penalties under federal law, denied boarding, removed from the train and banned from future travel in the event of noncompliance.
- Customers should not travel when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or when they meet public health criteria for quarantine.
For more information, visit: amtrak.com/coronavirus.
In addition to station and onboard safety, the general public is urged to remain alert near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way.
Amtrak is one of several partners with Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), a national, nonprofit safety education group working to eliminate deaths and injuries at railroad crossings and along railroad rights-of-way. Motorists and pedestrians can take action to prevent injuries and fatalities from occurring this summer, as a result of high-risk behavior on or near railroad crossings and tracks. For more information on railroad safety, visit stayoffthetracks.org.
Rail Safety Tips & Facts:
- Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine. Walking, biking, jogging and photography are prohibited on tracks.
- The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate.
- A train traveling at 55 miles per hour can take approximately one mile, or the length of about 18 football fields to stop.
- Obey all warning signs and signals. Trains can come from either direction on the same track at any time and can be very quiet. Use of headsets, earbuds or cell phones around tracks can prevent a person from hearing an approaching train and hooded clothing impacts peripheral vision.
- Remember to always stop at railroad crossings and never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. In addition, there are substantial fines for attempting to go around the crossing arms.
- Report suspicious items, persons, or activity immediately to the Amtrak Police Department by approaching a uniformed officer, calling (800) 331-0008, sending a text to APD11 (27311), or by calling 911. For emergencies, a toll-free number is posted on every grade crossing for the public to contact a railroad to report problems.
Amtrak is also encouraging employees to participate in National Safety Month with a banner contest, which show the company’s commitment to safety and showcase the artistic talent of participants. The winning banner design will be placed into production and distributed and displayed in various Amtrak facilities across the network throughout the year.