Operation Lifesaver

Net proceeds from our Santa Trains benefit Operation Lifesaver.


Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks. The OLI team consists of nationwide network of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety, state coordinators who lead the efforts in states across the country and a national office in Washington, D.C. that supports state programs, develops education materials, and creates public awareness campaigns for audiences of all ages. 

Safety is our primary concern at VRE. We work with our friends at OLI to spread the word about the dangers associated with trains and share rail safety guidelines, including:

  • Freight trains do not travel on a predictable schedule; schedules for passenger trains change
  • Train tracks are private property, no matter which railroad owns them
  • Trains have the right of way 100 percent of the time — over ambulances, fire engines, cars, the police and pedestrians
  • If there are rails on the railroad ties, assume that the track is in use — even if there are weeds or the track looks “rusty”
  • The weight ratio of an automobile to a train is proportional to a soda can and an automobile
  • A train may extend three feet or more outside the steel rail, which makes the safety zone for pedestrians well beyond the rails themselves
  • A 100-car freight train traveling at 55 miles per hour will need more than a mile to stop — that's approximately 18 football fields — once the train is set into emergency braking
  • Modern trains are quieter than ever, with no tell tale “clackety-clack” sound
  • An approaching train will always be closer and moving faster than you think
  • Trains can move in either direction at any time. Trains are sometimes pushed by locomotives instead of being pulled. This is especially true in commuter and light rail passenger service
  • Cross tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings. Observe and obey all warning signs and signals
  • Never walk down a train track; it's illegal and it's dangerous. By the time a locomotive engineer can see a trespasser or a vehicle on the tracks, it is too late. The train cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision