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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Sen. Schumer calls on FRA to investigate Rochester crossing gates, signals

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called on the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to investigate all crossing gates and signals in the Rochester, N.Y., area after a fatality occurred at a grade crossing earlier this week.

Schumer wants the FRA to ensure that crossing gates and signals are functioning properly, and as designed, following a crash in which local law enforcement said the driver of a motor vehicle drove around a crossing gate and was struck by an Amtrak train.

The accident prompted reports from Rochester area residents that said the crossing gates often drop down when a train is not approaching, which has conditioned motorists to drive around the gates out of a belief that they are malfunctioning.

"These gates and signals are meant to protect residents, not condition motorists to disregard and drive around because it is assumed they are not functioning properly," Schumer said in a prepared statement. "There could be a serious flaw in the system here and these claims must be looked at carefully so we can ensure residents are safe."

The incident occurred Monday when a motorist tried to cross the tracks at the crossing on King Road in Chili, N.Y. According to local officials, the gates were down and the signals were flashing, but the driver drove around the gate and was struck by the train.

While the gates were functioning correctly in this case, reports of malfunctioning gates have pointed to crossings across Monroe County, Schumer said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/5/2015