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Contact: Pamela Barnes, 440-241-5857Brecksville, OH – Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) have an urgent message about safety around railroad tracks and near-misses, anticipating thousands of visitors wishing to view the historic steam engine during CVSR’s Steam in the Valley event set to begin September 3. Effective immediately, the area including the railroad tracks and four feet beyond the railroad ties in CVNP are closed to pedestrians.
“We want to be proactive rather than wait until there’s an incident,” said CVSR President Joe Mazur. “Visitor safety is of utmost importance, and we are taking appropriate steps to prevent an incident.”
In addition to efforts in engineering the landscape to promote a safe distance from the tracks and educating park visitors about the importance of staying away from the tracks, the park is announcing an official, enforceable prohibition against pedestrians on the railroad tracks, except at official crossings. The closure will remain in effect until further notice.
“We have seen an increase in visitors, especially around holiday weekends.” said CVNP superintendent Lisa Petit. “The sights and sounds of a historic steam locomotive can be exciting but can quickly turn to a life and death situation. Walking on the railroad tracks poses a serious risk, so we are enacting a closure immediately.”
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs 26 miles through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. No matter how people travel throughout the national park, it’s likely they will come in close contact with the train at some point. Close contact has resulted in near misses – an incident where damage or injury could have easily happened but did not.
For those who don’t spend time around trains, it can be easy to forget how large, wide and fast they are. Locomotives weigh an average of 400,000 pounds, typically hang three feet or more past the rail and can take the length of several football fields to stop. Engineers and brakemen often cannot see pedestrians on or close to the tracks until it is too late. Protect yourself and the sights you plan to enjoy by following this closure and staying away from the train tracks. The closure is listed in the Superintendent’s Compendium, which is available on the park website.
About Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) is a private sector, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer supported organization operating in partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and is dedicated to the preservation of passenger rail transportation in Cuyahoga Valley and the historic Ohio & Erie Canalway. CVSR has been providing excursion rail service for more than 40 years. For more information about the railroad, visit CVSR.org.
About Cuyahoga Valley National Park CVNP encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Managed by the National Park Service, CVNP combines cultural, historical, recreational, and natural resources in one setting. For more information, visit us at www.nps.gov/cuva on Facebook ,Twitter or Instagram, or call 440-717-3890.
Last updated: August 31, 2021