Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Doug Baldwin talks train safety to South Sound residents

By Barbara LaBoe

Doug Baldwin spends many Sundays thinking about hard-hitting safeties, but he had a different kind of safety on his mind this past Sunday – train tracks.

Baldwin, along with some Sea Gals, helped us spread our train safety message to more than 300 children and adults from the South Sound region. The Seahawks' Pro Bowl wide receiver and Super Bowl XLVIII champion met personally with some lucky contest winners and also engaged the crowd as a whole on how to be safer around trains.
Seahawks star Doug Baldwin helped us spread the message about railroad safety at an event earlier this month in Lakewood.

The event is a part of the larger Stay Back from the Tracks safety campaign that we, the Seahawks and Operation Lifesaver designed to get area residents ready before passenger trains are rerouted through Tacoma, Lakewood, JBLM, and DuPont in the fall.

The Point Defiance Bypass tracks that run along I-5 between DuPont and Tacoma currently have just intermittent freight traffic. Starting this fall, though, residents will see 14 passenger trains every day traveling at up to 79 mph. It's crucial that residents know to what to expect and what to do to keep themselves safe, including:
  • Never walk on train tracks. They're private property and it's just not safe to be on them.
  • Don't assume a train can stop to avoid someone on the tracks – it takes more than a mile before a heavy train can stop – that's more than 18 football fields.
  • Never cross a train/road intersection if the gates are down or lights are flashing. Trains can travel in either direction, so just because one has passed doesn't mean another isn't coming from the other way.
Baldwin's message Sunday was simple: Everyone needs to be safe around train tracks.
People gathered around Doug Baldwin of the Seahawks to hear his message of being safe
and aware around railroad tracks at our safety event in Lakewood on May 28.

He reminded participants about the risks around train tracks and then "played" an interactive train safety video game with the crowd. The game has several built-in safety messages, including to never cut across tracks as a short cut and to always obey signals and lights.

While Baldwin was the star attraction, children and families also enjoyed several other train-related activities. The Lego station was a popular stop for many participants and included take home kits to build their very own Amtrak Cascades locomotive. Participants also were able to pose with a life-size banner of our new diesel-electric locomotives that will start running this summer. For those kids hankering for a train ride, a mini train operated in the parking lot.
A large Lego setup showing two working trains and structures from around the Puget Sound
area was a big hit at our railroad safety event May 28 in Lakewood.

In addition to Sunday's event, our partners at the non-profit Operation Lifesaver organization have made more than 75 presentations at area schools this year. Partnering with the Seahawks ups our train safety game by spreading the message even further.

We're excited about the new expanded Amtrak Cascades service starting this fall. It will add two daily round trips between Seattle and Portland (for a total of six), cut travel time and improve on-time reliability. But our first priority is always safety, so please follow Baldwin's advice and remember to always Stay Back from the Tracks.