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SEPTA Track Workers Get New Safety Protection That Could Save Lives

By Walt Hunter

CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) -- The death of two Amtrak employees, struck by a high-speed train along the rails in Chester on April 3, reminded everyone of the dangers of working near trains. Now SEPTA has announced two new measures, beyond their traditional safety training, designed to protect workers on the tracks.

Soon all SEPTA workers will wear "Pro Tracker," arm bands which will emit a beeping sound and flash a blue light if a train is approaching.

The alert is triggered by high-tech equipment aboard the train.The safety devices, SEPTA explains, have been in the the planning stages and on order for nearly a year.

"This will ensure that the railway workers are alerted in addition to the things they normally do that a train is approaching," Scott Sauer, Assistant General Manager for Safety Systems, told Eyewitness News.

Also, in its Regional Rail Center, SEPTA dispatchers, shutting down a track for work, now send the workers a special code on their phones. Until the crew activates that unique code, confirming they are safely away from the rails, dispatchers are blocked from switching any train onto that track, preventing any possibility of a disastrous mistake.

"Without the code, it's impossible to override the safety device, no train could possibly get in there," Regional Rail Director Deborah Creighton said. "Absolutely, it's foolproof."

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