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Since 2002, Minnesota Operation Lifesaver has partnered with the Federal Transit Administration to provide effective educational outreach programs for rail transit systems.

There was a day when Winonans had access to streetcars. While Amtrak serves Winona with intercity rail passenger service, there’s no local streetcar or light rail serving Winona.

Three common types of rail transit are light rail transit, including Metro Transit’s blue and green lines in the Twin Cities; commuter rail, for example the Northstar Line that connects downtown Minneapolis and Big Lake, Minn.; and subway systems, found in large cities such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

When visiting communities served by rail transit, be sure to review safety tips with friends and family, especially children.

Stay alert:

  • Trains can come from either direction at any time and can be very quiet. Around train tracks or in stations, obey all warning signs and signals and use caution when using headsets or cell phones.

Stand away from the platform edge:

  • Pay attention to markings at the platform edge, and stay at least three feet from the train while it is coming in or out of the station. Never sit on the edge of a station platform.

Never run, ride or skate on a platform or in a station:

  • Riding a bicycle, skateboard or using roller skates or wheel-heeled shoes are not permitted; they are dangerous. Running on a platform is also dangerous; you could trip and fall onto the tracks.
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Watch your step:

  • Be careful getting on and off the train, and always hold on to the hand of a small child. There may be a gap between the train and platform or steps.

Put away the phone:

  • Focus on the platform, tracks, people near you, and anything that might trip you and cause you to fall onto the tracks, including roller bags.

Watch the overhang:

  • Remember that trains are wider than the tracks.

When on board, hold on:

  • Hold on tight to poles or seats, and listen carefully to directions from the train operator or conductor.

Don’t take shortcuts with your life:

  • Follow directional signs and markings that let you know where it is safe to cross tracks. Crossing the tracks anywhere else is dangerous and illegal.

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Sheryl Cummings of Minneapolis is state coordinator of Minnesota Operation Lifesaver. Jeanine Black of Winona is an Minnesota Operation Lifesaver authorized volunteer.

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