WASHINGTON – A specially-painted Amtrak P42 diesel locomotive, emblazoned on both sides with the message, “See Tracks? Think Train!” was released into service Jan. 12 during a special ceremony at Washington Union Station. The black-and-yellow locomotive commemorates the 50th anniversary of Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing railroad safety education and awareness nationwide.
Amtrak is one of several partners with Operation Lifesaver, which began in 1972 with the goal to reduce railroad-related collisions, deaths and injuries across the United States, utilizing the “3 E’s – Education, Engineering and Enforcement.”
“See Tracks? Think Train!” is one of several major campaigns the organization conducts to connect with the public to increase visibility and awareness around trains and railroad tracks.
“Amtrak and Operation Lifesaver have been partners for many years with the goal of educating the community on the importance of avoiding high-risk behavior on or near railroad crossings and tracks,” Amtrak President Stephen Gardner said. “We are proud to celebrate Operation Lifesaver in reaching a critical milestone. When you see this distinctive Amtrak locomotive travel through your community, you will be reminded of the importance of rail safety.”
Operation Lifesaver has programs in 46 states and Washington, D.C. Trained volunteers provide free safety presentations to law enforcement, first responders, school-aged children, school bus operators, truckers, student drivers and more, educating and empowering the public to make safe choices on and around railroad property.
“Over the past five decades, Operation Lifesaver and its safety partners have helped reduce railroad crossing incidents by 84 percent, from 12,000 in 1972, the year Operation Lifesaver started, to 1,900 in 2020. But, there is still work to be done. Every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train,” OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh said. “Thank you to Amtrak for their continued partnership in sharing the rail safety message and for supporting Operation Lifesaver’s 50th anniversary with this commemorative locomotive that will travel across the country sharing the rail safety message in a very visual way. Together, we can stop track tragedies.”
The locomotive, No. 203, was painted in Operation Lifesaver’s rail safety scheme at an Amtrak maintenance facility in Beech Grove, IN. The locomotive, built in October 2001, will remain in revenue service on diesel operated routes throughout the Amtrak national network.