railroadTrains colliding with other trains, trucks and cars are high profile stories – especially within the last month or so. When trains collide with people, the results can be even deadlier, yet such accidents tend not to garner as much media coverage as the other kind.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hopes to focus the public’s attention on the dangers of trespassing on railroad tracks with a a public forum on the topic March 24-25 in Washington, D.C.

Private property

While railroad tracks have long held a cultural resonance with Americans, featured in motion pictures, TV shows, music videos and photography, they are, in fact, private property, and for good reason: they rife with danger. In 2013, 476 people were killed and 432 were injured in trespassing accidents, according to preliminary data from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The forum, Trains and Trespassing: Ending Tragic Encounters, will be chaired by NTSB Board Member Robert L. Sumwalt. It will feature speakers who have been seriously injured by trains; those whose communities have been affected; and railroad employee assistance program employees whose train crews have struck people on railroad property. The forum will draw on the expertise of railroads, regulators, and researchers, among others, to review the diversity of trespassing accidents and incidents and look at current and future prevention strategies.

A tour

The forum will be held at the NTSB's Board Room and Conference Center, located at 429 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C. However, on March 25, the forum will include a tour of Norfolk Southern’s safety train at Union Station.

More information about the forum can be found here: www.ntsb.gov/trespassing

The public can view the forum in person or by live webcast on the NTSB's website. As soon as they are available, an agenda and webcast details will be posted.