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Schools invited to participate in rail safety presentations

October 10, 2007

NEWARK, NJNJ TRANSIT is reaching out to nearly 100 schools located near the Pascack Valley Line as part of an expansive safety outreach effort in advance of significant rail service enhancements that take effect October 28.

As part of its rail safety education program, NJ TRANSIT has invited 60 public and private schools in New Jersey and 32 schools in New York to participate in a presentation for students that highlights important safety rules for trains, railroad tracks and grade crossings.

To date, five schools have confirmed their participation in the program:

  • October 11 – Lincoln School, Hasbrouck Heights
  • October 15 – Hackensack High School, Hackensack
  • October 19 – Assumption Academy, Emerson
  • October 29 – David Owens Middle School, New Milford
  • November 7 – Euclid School, Hasbrouck Heights

The free program is held in about 100 schools each year, reaching 30,000 students annually. During the 2006-2007 school year, NJ TRANSIT Safety Program Specialist Betsy Stern visited 13 schools in Bergen County—including three schools along the Pascack Valley Line—reaching more than 3,000 students.

As part of this safety outreach effort, NJ TRANSIT will also offer public service announcements to cable television stations serving the Pascack Valley Line area in Bergen and Rockland counties. The announcements are produced for NJ TRANSIT and other railroads by Operation Lifesaver, a national non-profit railroad safety organization.

With the theme of “Look, Listen and Live,” the video announcements illustrate the need to stay safe and alert around railroad tracks—as a pedestrian or motorist—and to observe all warning signs and safety-related equipment such as crossing gates and flashing lights.

Expanded service begins October 28

Pascack Valley Line customers will soon benefit from 121 new trains per week, including bi-directional, off-peak and weekend rail service for the first time—as a result of new “passing sidings” constructed along the single-track line.

Starting October 28, NJ TRANSIT will offer 15 new weekday trains—eight inbound to Secaucus and Hoboken and seven outbound—nearly doubling the level of service on the line. Of the additional weekday trains, one inbound and two outbound will operate in the evening, including a late-night train, with the remainder of the new service offered midday.

Also for the first time, customers will benefit from weekend service, with 23 trains operating on Saturdays and 23 on Sundays—11 inbound to Hoboken and 12 outbound each day.

Safety first!

With this additional service comes the need for heightened awareness around the tracks. There will be trains operating during times in which people are not accustomed to seeing them. Rail safety requires everyone’s attention, and adults and children should keep in mind these important safety reminders:

  • When approaching a crossing, pedestrians and motorists are advised to always expect a train—from any direction, at any time.
  • Always look both ways before crossing tracks, and only cross at designated crossings.
  • Never go under or around crossing gates that are in the lowered position.
  • Never trespass on the tracks—it is not legal and it is not safe.
  • Motorists are reminded to always make sure there is ample room for their vehicle to completely clear the tracks when crossing railroad tracks—be mindful of traffic ahead that could prevent you from clearing the path of the train.

Editor’s Note: Members of the media interested in attending the safety presentations are encouraged to contact NJ TRANSIT Media Relations at 973-491-7078.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 865,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.