MetroRail at Dusk

CapMetro announces evening testing for Red Line

Don't be the next William Huskisson
Don't be the next William Huskisson

On Sept. 3, 1830, Sir William Huskisson became the first person run over by a passenger train. As Capital Metro announces that it will be shifting to evening testing for its MetroRail trains, the transit agency is asking people to make sure they don't become the next historic statistic.

As of Nov. 16, MetroRail trains will be using the tracks on the red line from the Austin Convention Center to Leander from 3pm to 8.30pm, Monday to Friday. Freight trains will use the lines 9pm to 2pm the next day. They are asking road users and pedestrians to take note and act accordingly so everyone stays safe.

Huskisson wasn't actually the first person hit by a train (that dubious honor goes to David Brook, a carpenter from Leeds in the North of England, who was hit by a steam engine pulling coal trucks in 1821). However, he died for the same reason a large number of people who die in train accidents die: He wasn't paying attention. Train travel actually remains the safest form of powered land transportation. It just gets a bad rap because when there is a fatal accident, as with plane crashes, it is so dramatic and terrible.

However, and this is the big however, trains and and other road users co-exist everywhere in the world, so just be careful, don't stop on or near crossings, and don't try to outrun a train.

Here's the full text of the press release.

Austin, Texas, November 11, 2009 – Capital MetroRail trains will shift to afternoon/evening testing beginning on Nov. 16. MetroRail trains will be out on the line from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, testing the tentative afternoon schedule for MetroRail service in real-time conditions.

The testing also gives DMU train engineers additional practice operating the train at night.

During this testing, freight trains will run from 9 p.m. each evening until 2 p.m. the next day. MetroRail trains will be traveling at full operating speeds, nearly twice as fast as freight trains. Additionally, train activity will increase significantly.

For these reasons, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are encouraged to always expect a train, and to stay off the tracks.

Capital Metro is contacting schools and neighborhoods adjacent to the line to inform students and parents, erecting rail safety signs at grade crossings, and working with rail safety advocates in the community to assist the agency in spreading the message.

For the past three years, Capital Metro has worked closely with neighborhoods, schools, community organizations and Central Texas emergency responders to raise awareness about train safety in advance of the safe arrival of Capital MetroRail in Central Texas. Police will be ticketing motorists who park on the tracks or within 15 feet of the railroad crossing arms.

Learn more about rail safety at safety.shtml

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