Operation Lifesaver mission continues

From left, Signalman Jim O’Brien and Track Inspector Lino Ramon-Villafuerte chat with a passersby at a crossing near Midway Airport.

Signalman Jim O’Brien plans on being actively involved with Operation Lifesaver.

He’s always had strong feelings about safety, including at crossings. It was a particular memory, however, that crystallized why he decided to be proactive. He was at 59th Street crossing and watched as a family with two little girls nearly paid the ultimate price for making a mistake around trains. The youngest girl, about 9, tripped running across the tracks, following her parents, who were trying to beat the falling gates and train.

“Luckily, it was a light power locomotive and was able to stop, otherwise she would have been killed,” O’Brien said.

He and co-workers recently volunteered to distribute rail-safety information, some with children’s themes and stickers.

“Hopefully people listen,” he said. “If you hand out 1,000 fliers and only 100 people read them, you’ve still made a difference. Even if we only prevent one person from suffering a tragedy, we’ve done something very important.”


Patrolman Young Lee hands out safety information at a minor league baseball game earlier this year.

Volunteers distribute safety information.