I wish to pause from answering reader questions this week to highlight that the California Legislature has proclaimed September as both “Rail Safety Month” and “Pedestrian Safety Month.”
Let’s start with the topic of rail safety. Unfortunately, California leads the nation in annual rail fatalities. Part of the reason why there are so many fatalities is the known fact that it is extremely difficult to judge the speed of an approaching train. A Caltrain commuter train can reach a top speed of 79 miles per hour. A locomotive with five passenger cars can take a quarter-mile or more for the train to make a full stop. The average freight train takes a mile or more to stop.