What is a Trespasser Strike?

If you are onboard an Amtrak train during a "Trespasser Strike" it means someone has failed to yield the right of way to the moving train, resulting in a collision. When this occurs, the engineer, who operates the locomotive, will initiate an emergency brake to stop the train. It can take a train up to a mile for a train to stop. Once the train has come to a complete stop, the engineer will report the incident to the railroad dispatchers. The conductor or assistant conductor will exit the train and walk back to where the incident occurred to assess any injuries or damage to the equipment. 

Following that assessment, authorities are contacted, and the conductor will remain on scene until the train is cleared to continue on its route. Passengers are required to remain on board and will be given regular updates by the crew. In very rare instances, passengers may be asked to evacuate the train and proceed to alternate rail or ground transportation while authorities conduct their investigation.

When are you considered a "trespasser" on the railroad?

In areas where rail has been laid, state and federal laws have determined that railroads have the "right-of-way," that is, the land is designated exclusively for rail transportation purposes only. People that venture near the tracks, on the tracks, or in the gauge (the area between the rails) are considered to be trespassing, an offense that is punishable by state and federal law.

How Amtrak Works to Prevent Trespasser Strikes

The safety of our passengers, employees, and the public is Amtrak's top priority. Amtrak partners with Operation Lifesaver, a national non-profit railroad safety organization, whose goal is to eliminate deaths and injuries at railroad crossings and along railroad rights-of-way through education, engineering and enforcement.