Whilst rail transportation is one of the safest modes of transport there are always risks involved and ways that rail operators can improve. Finding new ways to educate the industry is the Norfolk Southern which operates 36,200 route miles in 22 eastern US states. They intend to launch the first safety train to raise safety awareness as part of its Operation Awareness Response (OAR) programme. OAR was launched in 2015 to educate the public about the economic importance of the safe movement of hazardous materials by rail and to connect emergency first responders in Norfolk Southern communities with information and training resources. The train will stop in 23 cities during 2017 to provide first responders with free training on how to respond to a railroad incident. It made its first stop on March 21 in Hagerstown with three days of training at Norfolk Southern’s rail terminal.
Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, Northern Southern ( @nscorp ) offers the largest intermodal rail network in eastern North America. It serves every major container port in the eastern US, provides efficient connections to other rail carriers and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products. At Norfolk Southern, safety is their number one priority.
The goal of OAR is to strengthen relationships with the first responders across the Norfolk Southern network. It has been providing safety training for emergency responders through community outreach programmes. The programme will aim to develop closer relationships with local and state agencies, increased training opportunities (classroom, web-based, and on-line resources), table-tops drills and participation in full-scale exercises, and providing better resources for emergency responders such as the AskRail mobile app that allows and first responders to use their mobile phones to look up commodity and response information on shipments.
In April 2016, Norfolk Southern unveiled a brand new safety train, with a dedicated locomotive, specially equipped classroom box cars, and several tanks cars for additional hands-on training along our lines. Furthermore, the OAR safety train is composed of a 2,000-horsepower, 273-ton locomotive painted in honour of emergency responders; two boxcars converted into 30-seat classrooms; four styles of tank cars: DOT-105, DOT-111, DOT-112, and DOT-117; and two 89-foot flatcars used to transport intermodal containers.
Each four-hour training session includes classroom instruction and hands-on training inside a locomotive and on rail cars. The sessions are recommended for representatives of fire and law enforcement departments, emergency medical services and hazmat response teams, military and homeland security personnel, and railroad customers and suppliers.
“We’re committed to moving all materials on our railroad safely,” said John Irwin, Norfolk Southern assistant vice president safety and environmental. “Important components of our safety culture include building relationships with first responders in the 22 states where NS operates and providing in-person educational opportunities like the OAR train.”
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