Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) is an international rail safety organization that was started in the U.S. in 1972 by concerned railroad workers who wanted to reduce the number of crashes between trains and vehicles at grade crossings.
According to national statistics released by the Federal Railroad Administration, the numbers of vehicle-train collisions and injuries at grade crossings were down in 2012 from 2011. However, fatalities remained essentially the same and most alarming is the fact that trespassing injuries and deaths were at their highest levels since 2008. Educating an increasingly distracted public about the dangers around railroad tracks continues to be a challenge*. Ohio ranked eighth in the nation with 33 trespasser casualties including the area served by ORHS volunteers claiming six casualties**. ORHS aims to help lower these numbers.
The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society (ORHS), is proud to be an active supporter of OLI in Wayne and surrounding counties in Ohio. Five ORHS members have been trained to present OLI’s safety message. These members and car hosts have volunteered over 900 hours per year toward the OLI program. Our presenters talk mainly to fourth graders and high school sophomores about being safe when near train tracks. The program reaches 14 school districts in five counties with over 2,700 students hearing the safety message every year.
Current participating districts include:
- Harrison County
- Harrison County Schools
- Medina County
- Black River Local
- Cloverleaf Local
- Highland Local
- Stark County
- Canton City (Hartford)
- Fairless Local
- Lake Local
- Tuslaw Local
- Summit County
- Norton City
- Wayne County
- Chippewa Local
- Green Local
- Norwayne Local
- Orrville City
- Southeast Local
If you would like to volunteer or donate to OHRS Operation Lifesaver activities, please contact us.
For more information about Operation Lifesaver, visit www.oli.org.
*Reference OLI News & Events, March 4, 2013; http://oli.org/news/view/operation-lifesaver-notes-drop-in-2012-crossing-collisions-increase-in-pede
**Reference Federal Railway Administration Office of Safety Analysis; http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/Default.aspx
Orrville Union Depot
The Orrville Union Depot was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) at the junction of the its Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago and Cleveland Akron & Columbus railroads in 1868. ORHS Purchased and restored the building in 1982. The main waiting room contains railroad related displays and is used for meetings and social events. The former freight office, next to the main waiting room, has also been restored and contains cabinets of railroad artifacts on display. The baggage room on the east side of the building is used for work projects and craft displays during Railroad Days celebrations. The ticket office, off the main waiting room, is restored typically as it was when operated by the PRR. The Station Master’s office, on the north side of the depot, now houses the Depot Gift Shop.
The former PRR Orrville signal tower, which controlled the railroad traffic at the junction and railroad yard entrance, was also acquired by the ORHS in 1982. The tower was then relocated to a site adjacent to the depot. A former PRR class N5C caboose was added to create a heritage cluster of buildings in 1989. That cluster depicts the glory days of the PRR in Orrville, Ohio. The foundation between the depot and the block tower was that of the former Adams Express Company, part of the Railway Express Agency.
The depot museum offers tours of our depot and each year hosts Orrville city schools third graders for their annual spring outing. Each year the ORHS offers railroad grade crossing safety sessions with Orrville fourth and eleventh graders. This class room training may involve a short train ride to point out the dangers of grade crossings and trespassing on railroad property.
The Orrville Union Depot Museum is open during ORHS events and by appointment from April through November. Visiting hours are from 12 Noon to 4 PM.
Group tours to visit the Orrville Union Depot Museum can be arranged by contacting the ORHS at (330) 683-2426.
The Orrville Union Depot Museum is located on Depot Street, south of West Market Street, west of South Main Street (Route 57).