A train for life
Over 300 passengers were treated to a train ride out of Boone
on a beautiful September day. But it was not all just
fun and games. The focus of this trip was saving lives.
On board the
special Operation Lifesaver train were law enforcement officers,
government officials and others who have an interest in rail
safety. Passengers received a train-side view of highway rail
crossings, and observed traffic behavior as the train approached
and passed. The speed and power of trains was dramatically
brought home to riders when trains sped by in the opposite direction
at what seemed a mere arm’s length away. At the “end
of the line” Operation Lifesaver representatives gave each car
a presentation on rail safety, including the grim statistics
along with actions that riders personally and professionally
could take to improve safety.
Lifesaver State Coordinator, Jari Mohs, said, “This was a unique
way to give riders an opportunity to learn about rail safety
in a meaningful environment. Operation Lifesaver has certified
volunteers trained and available to present free programs on
rail safety in your community. If interested in scheduling
a presentation, contact Jari Mohs at 515-291-2492 or via E-mail
two-engine (and one caboose) train traveled from Boone to Jefferson
and back on the Union Pacific double-main track. The train equipment
was provided by Union Pacific Railroad. Union Pacific
employees, with help from Operation Lifesaver volunteers, handled
all the arrangements to make this event possible.
were treated to a brief stop atop the Kate Shelley Bridge for
a majestic view of the Des Moines River Valley. The Kate Shelley
Bridge is the world’s longest and highest double-track railroad
bridge. Completed in 1901 by Chicago and Northwestern Railroad,
the bridge spans a length of 2,685 feet and is 185 feet above
the Des Moines River.
is a non-profit, educational program sponsored cooperatively
by the nation’s railroads; federal, state, and local government
agencies; and highway safety organizations with a mission to
end collisions, deaths and injuries at places where roadways
cross train tracks, and on railroad rights-of-way.
Preparing for the unexpected
Highways and railways transport a variety of essential goods,
including hazardous materials such as chlorine gas which is used to treat
our water supplies and anhydrous ammonia that fertilizes Iowa’s
farmland. Throughout October, Transcaer®’s national outreach effort, which is sponsored by
chemical manufacturing and the rail and tanker truck industries, hosted
a series of training sessions for emergency responders and other
local officials on how to recognize and deal with incidents
potentially involving hazardous materials.
The participants rotated through three hands-on stations and
learned about the:
(inside and out) of a railroad locomotive, including the
all important control to shut down a locomotive from the
valves and other controls that a responder may encounter
on a rail tank car and how they operate; and
and controls on an anhydrous ammonia truck trailer.
Overall, 362 people took advantage of this valuable training
opportunity so that they would be better equipped to handle
the unexpected. Participants appreciated the opportunity to
learn “hands on,” and become more familiar with the transporting
equipment and its operation.
Transcaer tour made stops in Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Mason
City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Ottumwa, and Davenport. Each
stop on the tour was equipped with training rail cars and a
locomotive supplied by Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway,
CF Industries, and Exxonmobil. Several railroads worked together
to move the equipment to each site, including: Union Pacific;
BNSF; Norfolk Southern; Iowa, Chicago and Eastern (ICE); and
the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway (CRANDIC).
Several truck transport firms and chemical producers provided
highway training tank trailers, including Iowa Tank Lines, Terra
and Barsol. Also, several governmental agencies participated
with displays and personnel, including the Environmental Protection
Agency, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and regional hazmat
teams for Iowa communities. Local site coordinators from
each of the regional hazmat teams worked with the railroads
to find locations for each of the events and sent invitations
to the applicable local agencies.
"We were very pleased with the attendance and quality of training
provided at each stop," said Rodney Tucker, Iowa Transcaer chairman
and tour leader. "The planning paid off and we were well received
at each stop, with the site coordinators and trainers doing
a great job."
More information on
can be found on their Web site,