METUCHEN – As the bustle of the morning rush hour settled at the Metuchen Train Station, Metuchen Police Officer Daniel Granato greeted commuters and disseminated more than 100 railroad safety cards to motorists and pedestrians.
With New Jersey Transit’s Metuchen Train Station ranked 10th highest ridership on the Northeast Corridor Line and 14th highest ridership on the entire service line, Granato said, “It’s good to educate the public on railroad safety,” and pointed out that paying attention is key.
“We want to prevent any type of accident,” he said. “People are looking at their phones and reading the newspaper and may not be aware of how fast a train comes by. If something is dropped on the tracks, they can call police.”
Members of the Metuchen Police Department, the Amtrak Police Department and Operation Lifesaver, the nonprofit rail safety education organization, participated in Operation Clear Track” along with more than 600 law enforcement agencies nationwide, on Sept. 24 during Rail Safety Week from Sept. 22-28.
The goal of Rail Safety Week is to reduce pedestrian and driver injuries and fatalities around railroad tracks through increased public awareness and enforcement, as well as to raise awareness and enforce state railroad grade crossing and trespassing laws.
The third annual rail safety detail, carried out in 48 states, is the single largest rail safety law enforcement initiative in the United States.
During Operation Clear Track, police personnel were stationed at targeted railroad grade crossing locations to issue citations or warnings to violators.
Along with the Metuchen Train Station, Granato, who is the traffic safety officer and community officer for the department, patrolled the steel railroad trestle behind St. Joseph’s High School, which is essentially private property. He said it’s important to educate people about the dangers of trespassing in the area, which is part of the Conrail railroad system.
In 2017, a 17-year-old Edison juvenile was electrocuted by high voltage lines when he was climbing the steel railroad trestle.
For more information, visit stayoffthetracks.org.