Meet past Off the Rails winners: Kathleen & Lauren!

The 2013-14 Operation Lifesaver Off the Rails contest officially launched yesterday! We’re encouraging students between the ages of 11 and 14 from across Canada to enter by submitting savvy rail safety messages, in the form of print, video or even a comic strip, to drive home the message to their peers:

Stay Off, Stay Away, Stay Alive!

The 2012 Off the Rails Contest winners, for the English print category, featured the very talented duo of Kathleen O’Keefe and Lauren Cashin, from Grand Bay-Westfield, New Brunswick. The pair took charge and delivered one extremely eye-catching poster to take the title.

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These ladies had a chance to check in with Operation Lifesaver after the fact to fill us in on their motivation and inspiration for their poster, and to share with readers their excitement about spreading rail safety awareness and of course—winning.

How old are you and what school do you go to? What are your team members’ names?

We are 12 years old and go to River Valley Middle School in Grand Bay-Westfield, NB. Our team members are: Lauren Cashin and Kathleen O'Keefe.

How did you find out about the Off the Rails contest?

Our group guidance teacher had told us we had to do it for a class project after we had a presentation from Lorrie Johnston from Southern NB Railway.

What made you decide to enter the contest?

We decided to do the contest because, first of all we had to do a poster for our class, and secondly, we wanted to see how far we could go in the contest.

What inspired your entry? What did you want it to say?

We were inspired by the presentation that Lorrie Johnston did and by all the stories we heard. We wanted our poster to say 'never walk along the railroad tracks because you never know when a train will come'.

What rail safety message do you hope your peers will take away from your entry?

We hope that the message our peers will take is if you stay off the railroad tracks you will stay alive.

Why are you interested in rail safety?

We are interested in rail safety because we have train tracks running through our town and we have heard some horrible stories and we wanted to make a difference in our town.

How does it feel to have won?

It feels amazing to have won. We feel that we accomplished our goals and hopefully changed some minds about the railroad. Also, we are happy and proud to have won.

 This year’s Off the Rails contest is sure to feature a smorgasbord of rail safety awareness campaigns, all coming from the creative minds of Canada’s youth.  Students can enter their submissions from now until December 20, 2013.

Please help us spread the Off the Rails contest word – share it with your children, students and friends. There are four grand prizes up for grabs, totalling more than $10,000, that can be spent on cool stuff like computers, electronic equipment, sports gear, musical instruments, school supplies, art equipment and more! Check out: for all the details.

Let’s get excited for this year’s Off the Rails contest, parents, teachers and kids—it’s going to be a “rail safety” good time.