September 1, 2022
Toolkits available with tips on rail safety
RICHMOND — The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) is bringing rail safety to the forefront this month with a public service campaign designed to promote the importance of safety in and around trains, stations, and tracks.
The campaign kicks off today with a Proclamation from Governor Glenn Youngkin recognizing Rail Safety Month in Virginia. In his proclamation, the Governor emphasizes the need for rail safety by noting that Virginia ranks 19th in the nation in the number of miles of rail with 3,000 miles across the Commonwealth.
VPRA will focus on a different aspect of rail safety each week.
Week 1 – September 1st through 10th – Grade Crossing Safety
Week 2 – September 11th through 17th – On Board Passenger Safety
Week 3 – September 18th through 24th – Rail Safety Education
Week 4 – September 25th through 30th – Pedestrian and Driver Safety
With toolkits — available online at vapassengerrailauthority.org/railsafety – VPRA has developed messages and communications tools for use by all Virginians. These kits 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.
“VPRA is committed to providing safe rail travel across the Commonwealth, not just on board our trains, but also in and around our stations and tracks,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA. “The importance of rail safety is vital to every community as we continue to grow passenger and commuter rail service around the Commonwealth.”
Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a nationally recognized leader in rail safety education is partnering with VPRA on this effort. “Trains can’t stop quickly. It takes a train a mile or more to come to a complete stop,” said Tracey Lamb, Virginia Operation Lifesaver Coordinator, emphasizing the importance of public awareness of rail safety.
In addition to toolkits, VPRA will be hosting rail safety events and promoting other educational opportunities around the Commonwealth.
To reach Virginia teens, VPRA is working with Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) on a campaign focused on safe driving habits near railroad tracks. YOVASO is a statewide peer-topeer education and leadership program that promotes young driver and passenger safety.
“YOVASO is excited to partner with VPRA for rail safety month. We are including rail safety education in our Drive for Change campaign that will reach hundreds of schools and youth groups throughout the Commonwealth,” stated Mary King, YOVASO Program Administrator. “Our peer-to-peer approach puts teens in the driver’s seat to educate their classmates about rail and highway safety and influence them to be safer drivers and passengers.”
VPRA’s partnership with YOVASO and their Drive for Change campaign will educate new drivers on the importance of buckling up, slowing down, and staying safe when walking or driving around rail tracks. Participating schools will promote rail safety in September through social media, school-wide announcements, and peer advocacy. Students are encouraged to submit a Rail Safety tagline to VPRA. The winning tagline will be the theme for 2023 Rail Safety Month and be featured in Amtrak Virginia advertising. Learn more about the Drive for Change Campaign here: Drive for Change Campaign – YOVASO
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 passenger rail service as an integrated, affordable, and convenient travel option and plays a critical role in mitigating current and future traffic congestion on Virginia’s highways, promoting economic development, and connecting communities by increasing passenger rail capacity, services, and ridership.