Caltrain officials held a Rail Safety Relay Wednesday morning to teach the community about safety and emphasize that tracks are for trains, not people.
There were three fatal train versus pedestrian collisions in April, one each in Menlo Park, San Bruno and Atherton. On May 6 a bicyclist rode his bike into the side of a train in Mountain View.
The relay began in San Jose just before 8 a.m. where conductor Bruce Shelton boarded the train with a safety "torch." The torch is made of a rail crossbucks, which is the sign warning of a rail crossing. Shelton represented the impact a fatal train collision has on the train crew, according to Caltrain.
Shelton passed the torch to San Mateo County sheriff's Detective Victor Lopez, who represented the enforcement of the safety rules, in Mountain View.
In San Bruno, Lopez then handed the torch to St. Robert School Principal Yvonne Olcomendy, who boarded the train with San Francisco Giant's mascot Lou Seal. They represented train safety education, according to Caltrain.
At the end of the train ride Caltrain Board Chair Jim Hartnett presented all of the relay team members with gold medals.
"Train safety is so important to teach to the community," Hartnett said in a statement. "The best way for us to do that is to continue spreading the rail safety message that tracks are for trains and not people."
Caltrain enforces rail safety through education, engineering and enforcement, according to the agency. Officials give hundreds of presentations to schools and community groups throughout the year, a $7 million project to fence one side of the tracks should be finished in four years, and transit police patrol the 77 miles of track to halt trespassers.