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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Crossing safety: KCS targets relocations and closings, provides police officer training

Kansas City Southern recently relocated a public grade crossing from the middle of a siding between Rayville and Delhi, La., one-half mile to the east to improve safety and reduce traffic blockages.

The Class I also has closed eight crossings so far in 2003 to improve safety and plans to close more than 60 other crossings during the next several years.

KCS studies show each of its crossings average about 10 million collision opportunities annually, 27,000 chances a day, 1,100 an hour and 19 per minute.

"The bottom line is that every three seconds, there's a chance for a crossing collision somewhere on our railroad," said KCS Manager of Public Safety Allen Pepper in a prepared statement. "By reducing the number of crossings, we can reduce risk."

If a collision occurs, KCS expects to assist local authorities' investigations. So, the railroad and Louisiana Operation Lifesaver conducted a Grade Crossing Collision Investigation (GCCI) course Sept. 9 and 10 in LaPlace, La. for 16 police officers — the 15th of 20 GCCI sessions planned for 2003.

The courses help law-enforcement personnel learn how to investigate crossing collisions and trespassing incidents, what to look for, what state laws are enforceable and how to be safe when conducting an investigation on railroad property. Participants also tour signal operations and ride in a locomotive to get a glimpse of an engineer's perspective.

GCCI courses are endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs' Association and Operation Lifesaver Inc.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/18/2003