NEWS RELEASE – September 13, 2023
Events planned to promote rail safety
RICHMOND -The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) is observing Rail Safety Month in Virginia by promoting the importance of safety in and around trains, stations, and tracks. A Proclamation from Governor Glenn Youngkin recognizing the month kicks off this year’s public service campaign. In his proclamation, the Governor references Federal Railroad Administration statistics that rank the Commonwealth of Virginia thirteenth in highway-rail grade crossing collisions in the United States.
“As passenger rail continues to grow throughout the Commonwealth, practicing safe behaviors near our tracks and stations and on board our trains is vital to ensuring a safe ride for our passengers and a safe environment for our communities,” said Mike McLaughlin, Chief Operating Officer of VPRA. “Every three hours a person or vehicle is struck by a train in the United States. Through education about rail safety, we can strive to prevent these kinds of incidents.”
VPRA has a toolkit available for communities to use in their own rail safety education outreach. The toolkits, available online at vapassengerrailauthority.org/railsafety – include everything from safety tips to sample social media and website messaging to sample school announcements, making the campaign ready for use by employers, schools, clubs, churches, and families.
Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a nationally recognized leader in rail safety education is partnering with VPRA on this effort. “Virginia Operation Lifesaver is excited to partner again with the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority for Rail Safety Month. Together, we are educating children and their parents about making good decisions around railroad tracks and trains,” said Tracey Lamb, Virginia Operation Lifesaver Coordinator. “Remember, railroad property is private property. Stay off, stay away and stay safe.”
In addition to the online toolkits, VPRA will be hosting rail safety events around the Commonwealth. To learn more, join us:
Tuesday, September 19, 10:00am to noon – Ashland
Ashland Amtrak Station – 112 N Railroad Ave, Ashland
Wednesday, September 20, 7:00am to 9:00am – Alexandria
Alexandria Amtrak Station – 110 Callahan Dr, Alexandria
Thursday, September 21, 9:00am – 11:00am – Petersburg
Ettrick Amtrak Station – 3516 South Street, Petersburg
Saturday, September 23 & Sunday, September 24, 10:00am to 2:00pm – Richmond
The Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR) – 2626 W Broad St, Richmond
“Play is how our youngest citizens learn, including about trains and train safety,” says CMoR’s Executive Director Danielle Ripperton. “We’re thrilled that children visiting our Downtown location experience the playful STEM education learnings at our train exhibit throughout the year. And, we’re most grateful that the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority delivers programming at CMoR during Rail Safety Month to introduce and reinforce the importance of train safety.”
For more information on rail safety, visit
vapassengerrailauthority.org/railsafety for VPRA’s toolkit;
https://oli.org/ for tips on basic track safety; and,
https://www.youtube.com/@FederalRailroadAdministration for videos on rail safety.
About Virginia Passenger Rail Authority
The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority was established in 2020 to promote, sustain, and expand the availability of passenger and commuter rail service in the Commonwealth. VPRA is committed to delivering and expanding its state-supported Amtrak Virginia passenger rail service. The Commonwealth of Virginia first launched state-supported service in 2009 with one roundtrip between Washington, DC and Lynchburg, VA. Since that time, the Commonwealth’s service has grown to include eight roundtrips daily with stops at 17 stations along four corridors. For more information, please visit vapassengerrailauthority.org.
About the Children’s Museum of Richmond
Since 1981, the Children’s Museum has served children and their families by recognizing that children grow and learn through play and has grown over the years in providing resources for the entire family, schools, and partner nonprofit organizations. CMoR now operates two locations in Richmond and Chesterfield dedicated to creating safe, fun, hands-on environments for children to learn, explore, and create memorable experiences. For more information about the Children’s Museum of Richmond, please visit www.cmorva.org.