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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Ohio rail commission receives FRA grant to study crossing safety device

The Federal Railroad Administration recently awarded a $497,050 grant to the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) to test grade-crossing equipment designed to block all traffic lanes.

The equipment comprises a single, long gate arm that extends across the entire width of a roadway and uses galvanized steel cables designed to prevent a vehicle from entering the crossing. After lowering, the gate arm is secured in a locking device on the opposite side of a road. The device — which has been used at drawbridges for more than 30 years but recently has been tested for crossing use — has been shown to stop a two-ton truck traveling 45 mph.

"The number of grade crossing collisions, fatalities, and injuries are all down significantly, but there are still too many vehicle-train accidents occurring," said acting FRA Administrator Betty Monro in a prepared statement. "We are committed to further reducing these incidents through the testing and application of advanced life-saving technologies."

ORDC plans to install the device at a yet-to-be-determined high-risk crossing on Norfolk Southern Railway's line between Cleveland and Delta. Each day, about 80 trains move over the line, which is located in a federally designated high-speed corridor. Commission officials will analyze the equipment's mechanical performance in all weather conditions, as well as how the device affects motorists' and pedestrians' behavior at the crossing.

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More News from 10/14/2004