TriMet launches WES safety campaign
Agency warns of dangers of approaching commuter rail trains
As part of its summer safety campaign, TriMet released a series of videos Wednesday documenting close calls between pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the tracks in front of approaching WES Commuter Rail trains.
TriMets Transit Police Division and the Portland and Western Railroad are conducting enforcement and awareness missions this summer to remind people to be aware of approaching Westside Express Service trains, obey warning devices and stay safe near the tracks.
WES provides rush hour service between Beaverton and Wilsonville on weekdays. The trains run on heavy rail tracks owned by the Portland and Western Railroad. TriMet says they are an illegal and dangerous place for people to walk, ride bikes or play. It takes a train traveling at 55 mph about a half mile to come to a stop. Even at reduced speeds coming into and out of stations, the 80-ton WES trains cannot stop quickly.
According to TriMet, its officers will be patrolling the areas around the WES alignment during service hours in the coming weeks. Officers are targeting locations in Tualatin where youth have been gathering in wooded areas near the tracks, in Beaverton where riders have illegally crossed the tracks instead of using a nearby crosswalk, and at the Tualatin station.
Since, trespassing on railroad tracks is illegal, officers will issue citations for this and other violations. Criminal trespassing can be a Class A misdemeanor with a fine up to $6,250 and up to a year in prison. Traffic-related offenses around railroad tracks include: Unlawful interference with a traffic control device or railroad sign, $427 fine; failure to stop for a railroad signal, $242 fine; obstructing a rail crossing, $242 fine; and pedestrian failure to obey a bridge or railroad signal, $97 fine.
The safety campaign also includes TriMet safety ads running all summer in local theaters and before movies in the park in Beaverton and Tualatin. Fliers with safety information will also be sent out in back-to-school mailings.
Last year in the United States, 420 people were killed in railroad trespassing incidents and 349 more were injured.
The 14.7-mile WES line has stations in Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. A one-way trip lasts approximately 27 minutes. WES travels an average 37 mph with a maximum of 60 mph. Since beginning service in February 2009, ridership has increased nearly 40 percent and WES has provided more than one million rides.