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SMART Train Service Update for Sonoma County

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SMART Train Passenger Service Update April 2016

The Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) is planning to begin passenger train service by the end of this year.  Already, there are trains running through Santa Rosa as SMART conducts tests on the rail system.  Now is the time to sit down with your kids, family and friends to talk about railway safety.

SMART has a railway safety website at with educational materials and information. On the website you can take an interactive Rail Safety Quiz which is available in both English or Spanish and find an array of flyers, fact sheets, and posters that can be printed out.  You can also request a rail safety presentation for your school, business, group or neighborhood.

Below are some railway tips from your Santa Rosa Street Smarts Program:

Tips for Roadway Users

  • Always expect a train. Modern trains are faster and quieter than ever before. A train can arrive suddenly – before you can hear it coming.
  • Trains can’t stop quickly.  A moving train can take up to a mile to come to a complete stop.
  • Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. Never walk or drive around lowered crossing gates. Do not cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it is safe to do so. In the event of a police or fire emergency always call 9-1-1. In the case of a railroad emergency (car stuck on the tracks, gates not working properly) call SMART Emergency Dispatch at 888-412-3330.

Tips for Pedestrians

  • Don't walk along the tracks even if you are familiar with the area. Shortcutting through or hanging out along the tracks is not only dangerous, it's also trespassing.
  • Crossing the tracks at a public crossing is very different from crossing a street - at a rail crossing, the trains will not stop for you. Trains travel in both directions, so look both ways before crossing.
  • Modern trains are wide and overhang the tracks by several feet on both sides. If you are standing near the rail, you can be hit by a train. NEVER attempt to hop aboard a train—a slip of the foot could cost you a limb or your life.

Tips for Bicyclists

  • Crossing railroad tracks on a bicycle requires extra caution and attention.
  • Bicycle wheels can get caught between the rails; always cross at a 90-degree angle and if possible, walk – don’t ride across tracks.
  • It’s never safe or legal to bike on a railroad right-of-way.

Tips for Drivers

  • Never stop your car on the railroad tracks. When you see the crossing signals activated, be sure to stop 15 feet back, at the white line. Wait until the crossing gates have raised and the lights have stopped flashing before you proceed.  Never cross the tracks until you are sure your entire vehicle will be able to get across the tracks safely.
  • Never race a train to the other side of the tracks.
  • If you find yourself on the tracks as a result of being trapped by traffic and the warning gates are activated by an oncoming train, drive through the gates as they are designed to be driven through in an emergency.
  • If your car gets stalled on the tracks, get out, help any children out, run away from your car at an angle toward the direction of the train and call 9-1-1.