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MassDOT warns ATV operators, dirt bike riders, outdoor enthusiasts as SCR trains begin to operate at up to 80 mph



Photo courtesy of Carlos Pimental Felix

BOSTON – With spring upon us and the outdoor bug striking, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation wants to remind All-Terrain Vehicle operators, dirt bike riders, and outdoor enthusiasts of every kind to put safety first concerning the South Coast Rail.

It is very dangerous and illegal to trespass onto the railroad right of way: it is never safe to be near or around railroad tracks. Only cross tracks in designated locations and obey all warning signs and signals. While the area around railroad tracks may seem like a conveniently cleared area for outdoor activities, being on the ROW can lead to dangerous and deadly situations.

Since 1959, the tracks in Southeastern Massachusetts only saw freight trains a few times a day at relatively low speeds, only recently increasing to 25 mph in certain areas. In the coming months, MBTA test trains will begin operating more frequently at speeds up to 80 mph. Test trains will be running on the tracks from late spring through the summer. Please remember to stay off the tracks, stay aware, and stay safe.

When going out on an ATV ride, for a walk, hunting, dirt biking, or any outdoor activities, MassDOT is urging the public to keep away from the ROW. ATV operators and bicyclists must ride on approved trails only. Look for posted signs warning that you are approaching a railway crossing. These signs, sometimes posted by the local ATV club, may be in any shape, size, or color.

More Safety Tips
-Always expect a train on any track, in either direction, at any time!

-Ride on approved trails only. Look for posted signs warning that you are approaching a railway crossing. These signs, sometimes posted by the local ATV club, may be in any shape, size or color.

-Always cross railway tracks at a designated and marked crossing and at an angle as close to 90 degrees as possible. Attempting to cross the tracks at a place other than a designated crossing could be deadly.

-Model and teach young riders the correct way to cross railway tracks:
■ STOP no closer than 5 meters from the nearest rail.
■ LOOK both ways and LISTEN for approaching trains.
■ Remember that where there is more than one track, trains can travel on any track, in either direction, at any time! Even if a train is already passing through the crossing, another train can approach unexpectedly from either direction on other tracks.
■ If you see a train approaching, or if the warning signals at the railway crossing are activated, STOP and wait in a safe place, away from all tracks. Once the train has passed and the warning lights have stopped flashing, ensure you have a clear view down the tracks and look both ways again for other approaching trains.
■ Cross the tracks only when you are certain it is safe.

-Be cautious, especially when riding in snowy or nighttime conditions. These conditions reduce visibility making it difficult to see obstacles, passing trains or railway crossings.

-In winter, a train can create so much snow-dust that visibility is nil; always stop at a railway crossing to ensure you don’t ride into the side of a passing train.

-Your helmet, the engine, wind and weather conditions may muffle the sound of an approaching train.

-A mechanical breakdown of your ATV can occur at any time; don’t risk getting stopped dead on the railway tracks—ANY TIME IS TRAIN TIME! If your ATV should get stuck on a track or railway line, immediately contact the railway using the emergency number prominently posted at crossings or call 911.



  1. Dirty Riding Bike

    April 13, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    Let nature take its course. The illegal riders in Fall River need their ranks thinned out, and FRPD is just ignoring the problem.

  2. Jake Perry

    April 13, 2023 at 4:27 pm

    The only good illegal dirt bike rider / ATV rider is one with two broken legs.

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