AYER — All day and night, trains rumble through town between Boston and points west; others cross through on their way north or south.
Commuter trains with their distinctive purple paint follow a schedule. The passage of freight trains is less predictable.
The tracks, bisecting areas where people live, work and play are dangerous. Earlier this summer, a teen was killed when he attempted to ride a bicycle cross the tracks on a pedestrian walkway at the West Concord station in front of an oncoming commuter train.
After the fatality, new signs were installed, Concord Wicked Local reported.
On Aug. 31, Keolis held a Railroad Safety Blitz in Ayer. Keolis Commuter Services operates the commuter rail for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Teams of volunteers, with representatives from local fire, law enforcement and the Federal Railroad Administration, reminded residents to “See tracks, Think train.”
The goal of these events is to raise awareness of the need for rail safety and to empower the public to keep themselves and those around them safe, said a statement from Keolis. During the safety blitz, volunteers handed out fliers to pedestrians and motorists at the railroad crossing at Sandy Pond Road.
“There are many misperceptions about train tracks that we want to set straight,” said organizer Chris Harrington, a Keolis safety officer in the release. “For instance, many people don’t know that you typically cannot hear a train until it’s passed. This is the type of reminder we share during these types of events.”
The public was also asked to take note of blue Emergency Notification System signs located at every railroad grade crossing. These reference the specific railroad’s emergency number and U.S. Department of Transportation National Crossing Inventory number. This information can also be used to report any malfunctions with lights or crossing arms.
“Our hope is to host these community events in as many towns and cities throughout the Boston area as possible,” Harrington said in the statement.
The statement included a sobering statistic.
Every three hours a person or vehicle is struck by a train in the United States according to Operation Lifesaver, a national nonprofit supported by Keolis and the MBTA to reduce trespassing, collisions, fatalities and injuries at railroad crossings and rights of way.
Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.