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Rail News: Communication and Signal

FRA fines CSXT for violating crossing safety regulations

Last year, the New York Times published a series of articles questioning U.S. railroads' handling of grade crossing incidents and the industry's efforts to improve crossing safety. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is trying to do its part to crack down on alleged crossing safety regulation violations.

Yesterday, the administration announced it fined CSX Transportation a total of $298,000 for multiple violations related to a February 2004 crossing accident in Henrietta, N.Y., which killed an elderly couple. The FRA alleges CSXT failed to "make repairs without undue delay" at three crossings with flashing lights and gates that were "known to be malfunctioning," according to a prepared statement.

The administration also cited the railroad for failing to have the train crew involved in the accident "stop and flag" highway traffic, and for inadequate drainage caused by fouled ballast at one crossing.

"Grade crossing warning systems are vital tools for protecting motorists, which is why we will take every step necessary to make sure railroads keep them in proper working order," said FRA Acting Administrator Robert Jamison.

CSXT can respond to the violation notices, and present any defenses and mitigating factors that may lead to a settlement agreement, the FRA said.

Following the Henrietta accident, the administration inspected 199 other New York crossings maintained by CSXT. The FRA might assess civil penalties for violations found during those inspections, agency officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/4/2005