Look, listen, stay alive: 7 rail safety tips as Expo Line reaches Santa Monica

An eastbound train departing 26th/Bergamot Station.

An eastbound train departing 26th/Bergamot Station.

It’s been more than 60 years since passenger rail last entered Santa Monica, and now we’re seeing test trains roll through each and every day. As we enter the last month of pre-revenue testing, we’ll continue to see increasingly frequent train operations between Culver City and Santa Monica. That means it’s increasingly important to watch out for trains!

Here are a few safety tips everyone should observe around train tracks whether you’re on foot or in a car:

  1. Use designated crossing areas and wait for the walk/crossing signal.
  2. If the gates are down, do not attempt to go around them.
  3. If a train is coming, be sure to stay behind the yellow warning stripes.
  4. Always stop, look, and listen for trains before crossing the tracks, and be sure to look both ways. If you have headphones on, take them off or turn the sound down!
  5. Never race a train to a crossing.
  6. Never climb railroad vehicles or walk on the tracks.
  7. Before starting across the tracks, be sure there’s room to get completely across.

Safety ambassadors at 26th St/Bergamot Station. Photo: Luis Inzunza/Metro

Metro also has safety ambassadors at some of the new stations to help local communities get used to the new lights and bells. The safety ambassadors not only show people the proper way to cross rail intersections, they also hand out information on Metro services and programs and take down feedback from the community. If you see them out there, feel free to stop and say hi!

7 replies

    • It doesn’t surprise me one bit, that people have so little concern about
      putting their lives on the line (literally & figuratively )!! I saw a woman walk against traffic,on to the tracks,right at a crosswalk,here in Long Beach @Anaheim Station just this evening…I’m convinced a few of these people might have a death wish, or they just don’t pay attention to where they are ,or they’re not very bright! Either way, look out for your fellow passengers out, even if they object….You might save a life!

      • Some people are just stupid. There was a long running debate in West Hollywood over pedestrians being hit in and out of crosswalks. Many believed and stil do believe they have the right of way and will step out into traffic expecting everyone to come to a sudden stop. I still see it on a regular basis especially with those glued to their cell phones.

        As stated previously, the only warning devices the P.E. used were at best Wig Wags and they were not at every crossing. And it’s not just auto vs rail but also auto vs bus. As a former Road Supervisor for the RTD/MTA the majority of accidents I investigated were auto’s or trucks making a right turn into the path of buses expecting them to stop. I even recall as a bus operator a car attempting to turn right into a 7-11 after passing me and hitting a exiting auto head-on. It was so close I had to back up the bus to get around the accident.


  1. > If the gates are down, do not attempt to go around them.
    . . . unless you’re already ON the tracks, and IN the way, and it’s the only way OUT!

    Then again, if you have to go around lowered gates to get OUT of the path of a speeding trolley, you’re probably too late anyway.

    The safety rules can all be summed up thusly: Don’t play chicken with a 47-ton trolley car!

  2. P.E. only used Wig-Wags crossing signals and people obeyed them. Now they seem to stupid not to walk or drive into the path of a train.

  3. In the street-running sections of the SF Muni Metro and E/F lines, at least so far as I can recall, automobiles share lanes with trolleys, and there are no special crossing signals other than an occasional “car approaching” icon in a walk/don’t walk box. And the Cable Car lines don’t even have that (but there are tourists constantly walking out into traffic, along Cable Car routes, treating the city as if it were nothing more than a city-themed amusement park!)

    In the handful of unfenced at-grade sections of the Chicago “L,” they even have exposed third rail electrification, and yet you don’t hear of people (or dogs, for that matter) frying themselves.

  4. Actually, the “Dumb Ways to Die” video HAS been posted on The Source. It’s originally, as I recall, from a transit authority somewhere in Australia.