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Rail News: Safety

Operation Lifesaver issues crossing safety warning


In response to the latest high-profile train-vehicle collisions, Operation Lifesaver Inc. President Joyce Rose issued a national warning to all drivers to use caution at every grade crossing.

She issued a statement to address the fatal Metro-North Railroad accident on Feb. 3 and Tuesday's Metrolink incident in which a train derailed after it collided with a truck trailer that was stuck on tracks at a crossing in Oxnard, Calif. About 30 passengers were injured. The truck's driver was arrested after fleeing the scene.

"These tragic collisions illustrate the devastating effect that vehicle-train crashes at highway-rail grade crossings can have on families and communities," Rose said. "Operation Lifesaver's safety tips can help motorists and pedestrians avoid the potential dangers that they face at all highway-rail intersections and along train tracks."

She noted that, overall, crossing incidents have decreased in the United States, from a high of 12,000 in 1972 to 2,000 in 2013. Preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics show that in 2013, 46 percent of all crossing collisions involved passenger vehicles; the second highest number, 16 percent, involved tractor-trailers, Rose said.

Meanwhile, federal investigators announced at a press conference yesterday that they've recovered and are studying a video and data recorders of the Metrolink accident, which show the train was traveling slower than the 79 mph speed limit.

Metrolink resumed full service yesterday on the Ventura County Line, where the derailment occurred.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/26/2015