IN THIS ISSUE
Operation Lifesaver: Saving Lives – One Connection at a Time
There is a common theme across all of FHI’s projects: making connections. Whether we are connecting with a stakeholder group, a town committee, state and federal regulators, or the public, we are constantly making connections with people from all walks of life. Through Operation Lifesaver, a national program responsible for lowering rail fatalities by over 83 percent in the United States, FHIers have been talking with kids and adults about how to stay safe around trains and train tracks, particularly with the increased activity and service levels on the Hartford Commuter Rail Line.
Having worked on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) rail projects from planning through design, and finally construction, it was a natural fit for FHI to help promote the safe launch of the Hartford Line. With the launch of the Hartford Line service this June, the rail environment from New Haven to Springfield, MA changed dramatically. People used to train activity levels with six roundtrip trains a day now encounter significantly more activity with 12 to 17 trains a day on the same tracks. Teamed with CTDOT and WSP, FHI embarked on the Operation Lifesaver campaign to help spread the word about this change and to educate people about the potential dangers of trains and how to avoid these dangers.
See Tracks? Think Train. That’s one of the central messages we passed on to people at rail crossings, special events, fairs, schools, neighborhood groups, meetings, and colleges across the state. We talked with people who love riding the new service and some that didn’t know much about it at all. A three-year old taught us how to say “train” in sign language. A former train engineer told stories about the dangerous behaviors he has seen around trains. Another man told us about his brother who was killed by a train. These connections are the heart of the Operation Lifesaver program: connecting with people to raise awareness of train operations to help save lives while promoting significantly increased commuter rail service in Connecticut - a win-win for all!