March 7, 2007 was an unusual day if
you were a motorist, pedestrian or bicyclist and had any thought of
trespassing on railroad right-of-way. Operation Lifesaver, a
national non-profit organization dedicated to highway-rail grade
crossing safety, and
Orange County law enforcement had a field day at the expense of anyone
who might violate railroad property. A special train was run into
Orange County from Los Angeles for several press conferences while
enforcement agencies patrolled highway-rail grade crossings in
different Orange County cities ranging from Fullerton to Santa
special train was run onto the lightly used Union Pacific "Marlboro"
the Honda Center.
"We are waging a joint effort with other Southern California railroads
and Operation Lifesaver to remind drivers to take necessary safety
measures when crossing the tracks.We hope
we don't find any violators, but we'll go after those we catch,” said
Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell. “We take safety very
seriously at Metrolink,” said Safety and Security, Manager Ed Pederson.“We hope this program helps to save lives.”
The train arrived at 06:15 and was
met by various media personnel who interviewed Operation Lifesaver
officials. Below left, OL volunteer Harry Fischer, Los Angeles
Sheriff's Officer Steve Smith, and Metrolink Spokeswoman Denise Tyrell
work to get reporter to a moving train. Below right, Union
Pacific Police command post.
From there, they fanned out to
various target locations. Revenue service trains were used on the
BNSF mainline in east Fullerton and the Metrolink mainline from
Fullerton south to Santa Ana. Other locations uncluded two Union
Pacific branch lines, one in Brea and the other in Anaheim. The
program resulted in over 200 violations.
Within one-half hour, the stationary
special train even had several violators attempt to move by it on the
railroad right-of-way. The first one was a worker in a white
pick-up truck which had driven up the west bank of the Santa Ana River
and then onto the railroad right-of-way. The driver was
immediately stopped and given a warning. The second violator was
a day worker on a bicycle who attempted to ride his bicycle east bound
onto the right-of-way and was likely given a ticket. With the
arrival of James Martino, Captain, Amtrak Police Department, I now had
an opportunity to witness law enforcement in action in the various
target areas. Our first destination was Fullerton Station where
Fullerton Police Department had several officers working on the
passenger platform. A man approached us and started talking and
turned out to be a BNSF engineer with his grandchild. Two other
men turned out to be Fullerton PD officers in plain clothes.
Our next location was just to the east on the BNSF mainline.
Fullerton Police Department targeted Valencia Street between Raymond
Street and State College Boulevard. At Raymond, we chatted with
two motorcycle officers. Some trains went by and one car run
under the gate while it was on its way down. One motorcycle
officer went after the violator.
We visited all highway-grade rail crossings along Valencia Street and
at State College Boulevard, we witnessed this red sedan cross under the
gates. The officer we spoke to said his partner in a car caught
up to this violator.
The next target area visited was in
the City of Brea. This Union Pacific branch line had two
locomotives running back and forth from Brea Blvd. to Palm
Avenue. The car seen in the photograph stopped when the lights
We then travelled to Lambert Road and Palm Avenue to watch some more
The enforcement in Brea ended and we retreated towards the Anaheim
location of the Operation Lifesaver train.