NYC Commuter Train Crash Highlights Need for Rethinking Rail Crossings

"Valhalla train station" by Usroadman - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Valhalla_train_station.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Valhalla_train_station.jpg

“Valhalla train station” by Usroadman – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Valhalla_train_station.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Valhalla_train_station.jpg

The February 3 Metro-North crash site in Westchester County, N.Y., resembles hundreds of thousands of at-grade railroad crossings around the country. The train tracks and the road are on the same level, and only an arm gate with flashing lights signals drivers that a train is approaching and prevents them from crossing the tracks.

When a Metro-North commuter train, which had departed from Grand Central Station in New York City, collided with a sport utility vehicle that was on the tracks at a Valhalla, N.Y., crossing Tuesday night, six people died and 15 were seriously injured. Train safety experts say this type of at-grade crossing is all too common across the U.S. and should be replaced with safer crossings. …

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