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Cuyahoga Valley National Park Unveils New Train Track Safety Rules

photo of the scenic railroad
M.L. Schultze
The increase in the number of visitors at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is part of the reason for new safety rules along the Scenic Railroad tracks through the national park.

Officials with Cuyahoga Valley National Park have adopted new safety rules for the areas around train tracks in the park.

Visitors now will need to stay at least 4 feet from the ends of the railroad ties of any tracks, except at designated crossings. Spokeswoman Pamela Barnes says the change comes as visitor numbers have increased, but so have potential incidents near the tracks.

“For the train operators, it's impossible for them to stop the train quickly and they report these near-miss incidents, where someone very well could have gotten injured, or property damaged," Barnes said.

“We are seeing a lot of folks who are first time visitors to Cuyahoga Valley, who are not from the area, and who may be happening upon a railroad track assuming that it's not active because it's in a national park.”

Barnes adds that’s understandable since many parks have “rails to trails” programs which convert old train lines to bike and hike paths.

And she says park engineers may also consider how to arrange landscaping in the future to make it more difficult for visitors to get close to the tracks and for train personnel to have a clearer view down the track.

CVNP is seeking public input on issues such as train track safety. More information is available here. And a list of upcoming Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad programs is here.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.