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Rail News: Communication and Signal

FRA funds crossing safety projects in Tar Heel state


Yesterday, the Federal Railroad Administration announced it will partner with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway to study the use of locomotive-mounted digital video cameras to record grade crossing accidents and trespassing incidents.

Under the $482,000 federally funded project, the parties plan to identify human factors that cause crossing accident and incidents, and evaluate the performance of recent safety improvements per North Carolina's Sealed Corridor Initiative, which is designed to eliminate crossing hazards along a proposed high-speed rail route.

"The project results will be used to develop more effective safety measures to better protect lives at grade crossings and prevent trespass incidents throughout the country," said acting FRA Administrator Betty Monro in a prepared statement.

NS already has installed video cameras on about 850 locomotives that operate in 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Ontario, Canada; North Carolina DOT has installed cameras on its "Piedmont" Raleigh-to-Charlotte passenger train.

Meanwhile, the administration recently granted $795,000 to the town of Clayton, N.C., to help fund a pedestrian underpass on a line known for numerous trespassing incidents. The underpass will enable the town to close three crossings.

About 96 percent of rail-related fatalities each year are caused by crossing collisions or trespassing incidents, according to FRA data.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/20/2004