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Good film! I love grandpa's sort-of Irish brogue, the way he pronounces the letter "R" sometimes. The kid has it too, to a lesser extent.

 

Note the 3-lane highway for passing at about 5:47. When I first started driving, Indiana 1 between Fort Wayne and Bluffton was 3 lanes, and I think part of Indiana 3 was, also. Even after they resurfaced it and re-marked it to two lanes in the late fifties, some local drivers still drove it as if it were still three lanes. I imagine it was disconcerting to see an oncoming car straddling the centerline as the driver passed a slower vehicle.

 

My '38 Chevy had knee-action front suspension It had a shock absorber built in with the coil spring in a heavy enclosure that contained the shock-absorber fluid. They were great until they wore out, and by the late fifties it was virtually impossible to find a shop or mechanic with the parts/tools/knowledge to rebuild or replace them and align the steering. It was a feature only found on the DeLuxe models; the Standard models still had a forged solid-beam axle and coil or leaf springs on the front.

 

I remember seeing a newsreel promoting the advantages of the all-steel Fisher Body. Before the turret top came along in the mid-thirties, car bodies had pressed steel up through the curve above the doors, and then a wood-framed, waterproof fabric insert that made up the center of the roof. Some car bodies had stamped steel shells with wood frames. In a rollover, the whole upper body structure could collapse or crush sideways. The turret top had greater structural integrity. In the newsreel, they ran cars at speed with two wheels going up a ramp to roll them, and compared the results. It was pretty dramatic.

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Tragedy on the tracks: Blast of train horns haunts Holland teen

 

By BRIDGET THARP

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

Nearly a month ago, 16-year-old Brianna Mullinger of Holland lost her left leg in a train accident.

 

Her best friend, Cody Brown, 15, lost his life.

 

As Brianna works to recover from her injuries, the Brown family is struggling to adjust to life without Cody.

 

Full story and video at above link:

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9 hospitalized after Metro train, bus collide downtown

By MIKE SNYDER

Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle

Feb. 8, 2010, 10:05PM

260xStory.jpg

Nine people were hospitalized Monday afternoon after a Metro bus and a light rail train collided near Metro headquarters downtown.

 

A preliminary investigation showed that the bus, westbound on St. Joseph Parkway, ran a red light and collided with the train, northbound on Main, Metro spokeswoman Carolina Mendoza said.

 

Mendoza said the bus driver, who joined Metro in 2000, and a passenger on the train were among four people taken to nearby St. Joseph Hospital. Four others were taken to Ben Taub General Hospital and one person was taken to Memorial Hermann. All injuries were reported to be nonlife-threatening. The train operator, who joined Metro a year ago, was treated and released on the scene.

 

more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6857319.html

 

 

 

And the Youtube of it:

 

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It's not unusual for clueless drivers to find themselves face-to-face with the business end of a moving train, but you'd expect a bus driver working for the same transit agency would know better.

Yeah, he's on unpaid leave now.

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Crossing collisions, injuries and fatalities fall to record lows in '09

 

Newly released preliminary data from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) shows the number of highway-rail grade crossing injuries and fatalities dropped to record lows in 2009, according to Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI). Crossing-related injuries dropped 28.3 percent to 683 and crossing fatalities declined 14.2 percent to 289 compared with 2008 figures.

 

Although decreases in vehicular and freight-rail traffic contributed to the year-over-year declines, the data shows law enforcement efforts, highway-rail engineering and signaling improvements, crossing closures, and OLI’s partnerships with federal, state and local agencies to raise safety awareness are working, said OLI President Helen Sramek in a prepared statement.

 

Full story at: http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article.asp?id=22730

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Train-related crashes on decline, while number of deaths increase

Officials say safer driving behavior makes a difference.

By Ryan Gauthier, Staff Writer

Updated 8:53 AM Monday, March 29, 2010

 

MIDDLETOWN— Throughout all of 2009, Middletown did not see a single train-related crash.

 

The city has had 10 such accidents since 2000, with the last occurring in October 2008. That one involved the death of two Middletown women after their pickup truck stopped on train tracks in the 2000 block of Waneta Avenue. An accident at the same crossing claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl about two years earlier.

 

Those statistics are not lost on Stu Nicholson, who literally has made trains his business.

 

Nicholson, a spokesman with the Ohio Rail Development Commission, said the declining number of train-related accidents can be largely attributed to a “very concerted public education effort” throughout the nation.

 

Full story at:  http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/middletown-news/train-related-crashes-on-decline-while-number-of-deaths-increase-625572.html

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Ohio Rail Development Commission •  News Release

1980 West Broad Street • Columbus, Ohio 43223

http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ohiorail

 

 

Heart of Perrysburg Gets Better, Safer Rail Corridor

Team effort by city, railroad and Sate of Ohio nets a win-win for residents, motorists

 

Columbus (Wednesday April 28, 2010) – Major improvements to railroad crossings through downtown Perrysburg, Ohio are near completion and demonstrating  how public-private partnerships can reap both greater safety and even a greener look for a rail corridor.

 

Completion of the Perrysburg grade crossing consolidation project marks the end of a 3-year process that brought together city and railroad officials as well as the Ohio Rail Development Commission and Ohio Department of Transportation to address local concerns over traffic delays at a series of six crossings in the heart of the community.  Improvements include state-of-the-art technology upgrades to crossings at the Locust, Elm and Walnut Street crossings along the CSX railroad corridor to reduce delays for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

 

In addition, the city, state and railroad agreed to permanently close grade crossings at Cherry, Pine and Hickory Streets.  As part of the closure agreement, the closed crossings will be landscaped to both block the old crossings and provide a more visually pleasing barrier.

 

“As we’ve seen with similar projects in cities like Springfield and Fostoria”, says ORDC Executive Director Matt Dietrich, “ this shows what can be done when local officials and the railroads work as productive partners to tackle local issues and concerns and create an end result that is a win-win for everyone.”

 

“This collaborative effort insured that every railroad crossing in our city is now protected with gates and lights and we are grateful for the substantial investment by the Ohio Rail Development Commission”, says Perrysburg Mayor Nelson D. Evans, who went on to say, “I also express my appreciation to CSX for their valuable assistance and extensive work on this public safety initiative.”

 

The $728,000 dollar project is slated to be completed in June. 

 

The Ohio Rail Development Commission is a state commission whose mission is to plan, promote, and implement the improved movement of goods and people faster and safer on a rail transportation network connecting Ohio to the nation and the world.  The ORDC assists with economic development funding by partnering with local governments, railroads, private businesses and other state agencies on freight, safety and passenger projects.

 

###

For more information contact:

Stu Nicholson, ORDC Communications,

at 614-644-0513

 

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Overpass contract is under estimate in Fostoria

 

FOSTORIA - A contract to build the second of three overpasses in Fostoria planned to alleviate traffic congestion from trains is to cost $1.25 million less than expected.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has awarded a $6.14 million contract to Miller Brothers Construction Co. of Archbold to build an overpass on Jones Road over CSX railroad tracks north of the city, department spokesman Theresa Pollick said. The department had estimated the project at $7.39 million.

 

More at: http://www.toledoblade.com/article/20100503/NEWS16/5030349 Article published May 3, 2010

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I have a question: I suspect a number of stimulus-funded have come in under budget. The same thing happened in Oregon where the state bought two European-style Talgo passenger trains costing $40 million -- using stimulus funds made surplus by numerous projects coming under budget.

 

Wonder what we could do with surplus funds here?

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Got any documentation on what happened in Oregon?

 

All I could find was this one reference to it near the end of this article at:

 

http://djcoregon.com/news/2010/03/02/47835-trpn/

 

The money for the trains comes from Oregon’s savings on projects in the federal stimulus package. The trains will be delivered in 2012.

 

Oops, I lied....

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/low_bids_on_oregon_highway_pro.html

 

Earlier this year, the Oregon Transportation Commission allotted $234 million in economic-recovery dollars to various state projects. But now, bids are coming in lower than initially expected, by about 19 percent.

 

That means the state has $43 million left to work with to help fund state transportation needs.

 

....The bulk of the savings, $35 million, will be spent to buy trains for the Amtrak run between Portland and Eugene.

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Operation LifeSaver; Out To Save Lives

by Wayne Allen

06.21.10 - 05:00 am

  wallen@communitycommon.com

 

On Wednesday June 9th Operation Lifesaver conducted an enforcement train from Portsmouth to Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Columbus. While on the trip passengers were informed about the dangers of people crossing the track when a train is approaching.

 

"With an Operation Lifesaver Train we are taking a snippet of time of what's being run 24 hours a day seven days a week. We have seen around the country when we have run these enforcement trains, we've had semi-trucks go in front of us, school bus drivers, fuel trucks, we've even had people commit suicide by jumping in front of the train," Sheldon Senek, State Coordinator of Operation Lifesaver of Ohio said.

 

Full story at: http://communitycommon.com/bookmark/7973503-Operation-LifeSaver-Out-To-Save-Lives

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FRA gets grade crossing safety initiative rolling   

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 

 

 

A final rule published Monday by the Federal RailroadAdministration gives states with the worst grade crossing safety records one yearfrom Aug. 27 to complete five-year action plans that address the problem.

 

The states—Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia,Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas—are the 10 with thehighest number grade crossing accidents/incidents on average during 2006,2007, and 2008.

 

Full story at: http://www.railwayage.com/breaking-news/fra-gets-grade-crossing-safety-initiative-rolling.html

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Railroad crossings may close

Concern for public safety could result in the closing of two local Norfolk Southern rail crossings.

By Jessica Heffner, Staff Writer

1:06 AM Sunday, July 11, 2010

 

MIDDLETOWN — City leaders and state rail officials will hold a public meeting this week to discuss the possible closure of two railroad crossings in Middletown.

 

The meeting will take place from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, on the fourth floor of the city building, One Donham Plaza. Officials from the city, the Ohio Rail Development Commission and Norfolk Southern will discuss the possible closures, which are targeted at the Waneta Avenue and Grand Avenue crossings. Comments from the meeting will be compiled and presented to City Council for their consideration at their Aug. 3 meeting.

 

Full story at: http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/middletown-news/railroad-crossings-may-close-806132.html

 

 

Article published July 11, 2010

Defiance man killed when train strikes pickup

BLADE STAFF

 

DEFIANCE — A Defiance man was killed Sunday when his pickup truck was struck by a train at the Tittle Road crossing of CSX tracks in Defiance County’s Delaware Township , the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

 

James L. Gollihue, 65, was pronounced dead at the scene after the 1:50 p.m. accident.  Troopers with the Defiance post said Mr. Gollihue was southbound on Tittle Road when he failed to stop at the crossing and was struck by the eastbound train.

 

Full story at: http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100711/NEWS16/100719944

 

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Crossing accidents push rail fatalities up    

Friday, July 09, 2010 

 

The number of fatalities on U.S. railroads reached 217 in the first four months of this year, up 10.2% over the same period in 2009, according to preliminary statistics for January-April posted on the website of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis.

 

Primarily responsible for the increase was a 26.1% jump in grade crossing fatalities, from 69 in the 2009 period to 87 this year. Trespasser fatalities added up to 112 this year, the same as in the corresponding 2009 period. Employee fatalities also remained at he same level as last ear—seven.

 

Full story at: http://www.railwayage.com/breaking-news/crossing-accidents-push-rail-fatalities-up.html

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Residents concerned over railroad crossing closings

By Jessica Heffner, Staff Writer

8:24 PM Wednesday, July 14, 2010

 

MIDDLETOWN — Dave Green has counted the amount of cars that access the Naskar Drive Thru via Waneta Avenue, and he knows its enough to put him out of business if the railroad crossing closed.

 

Before heading to a public meeting Wednesday, July 14, at the city building to discuss the possible closure of crossings at Waneta and Grand avenues in Middletown, Green said he counted 100 cars drive up to his business that day. Of those, 72 traveled via Waneta.

 

After serving the nearby neighborhood for 11 years — selling everything from beer and cigarettes to food items and diapers — Green said shutting down the rail crossing will force customers past two other similar stores, which would make it difficult for his business to compete.

 

Full story at: http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/middletown-news/residents-concerned-over-railroad-crossing-closings-811746.html

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Ohio utilities commission OKs several grade crossing upgrades

 

Last week, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) that directs Norfolk Southern Railway to install flashing lights and gates at two grade crossings in Ashland and Erie counties. The upgrades will be funded with federal dollars.

 

PUCO also adopted an agreement with ORDC, CSX Transportation and the village of Ansonia authorizing CSXT to install flashing lights at a crossing in Darke County. Funding will be shared by PUCO, ORDC and CSXT.

 

Full story at: http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article.asp?id=23875

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Demolished bridge will be replaced in Vermilion

Friday, August 6, 2010

By RICHARD PAYERCHIN

rpayerchin@MorningJournal.com

 

VERMILION — A bridge replacement project will improve fire and police safety access on Vermilion’s east side.

 

The Ohio Department of Transportation has awarded $1.44 million, or 80 percent of the $2.02 million needed to replace the Highbridge Road bridge over the railroad tracks.

 

The project will be designed next year and built in 2014, with Vermilion paying for 20 percent of the cost.

 

Highbridge Road runs roughly north-south and would connect Liberty Avenue and Brownhelm-Station Road. Now it dead-ends on each side of the railroad tracks because the bridge has been gone for years.

 

“The people have wanted it for many years,” Mayor Eileen Bulan said.

 

URL: http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/08/06/news/doc4c5b956293ea6798008615.prt

 

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article published August 18, 2010

 

Grants sought for traffic underpass at McCord rail crossing near school

Upgrade would ease traffic, improve safety

 

By TOM TROY

BLADE POLITICS WRITER

 

The Lucas County board of commissioners Tuesday approved the county engineer's plan to apply for grants to build a traffic underpass that would eliminate the Springfield Township rail crossing where a teenager was killed and another injured in December.

 

Engineer Keith Earley asked for the commissioners' backing to improve the chance of winning one of two grants to complete the $35 million pot of funding.

 

The underpass would carry McCord Road under the Norfolk Southern tracks.

 

Full story & photos at: http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100818/NEWS16/8170370

 

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Article published August 20, 2010

 

Trespassers on rail tracks targets of local enforcement

By DAVID PATCH

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

Seventeen-year-old Franco Harris and his cousin, Jason Abranczyk, 11, thought the railroad tracks behind a friend's house in East Toledo would be a good shortcut to head over to young Harris' house on Miami Street Thursday afternoon.

 

But Chad Heiser, a Norfolk Southern Railroad police officer participating in a trespassing-awareness campaign along the tracks in Toledo Thursday, spotted them as they walked toward Fassett Street and stopped them for a little chat.

 

While the track that crosses Fassett near Utah Street isn't especially busy, the railroad occasionally uses it to turn engines around at a nearby junction and to run grain trains between South Toledo and Walbridge, so the risk of getting injured exists, Mr. Heiser explained. That's especially true for people walking between the rails, as Jason was doing, but the driveways on either side of the track also are railroad property and not open to the public, he said.

 

Full story at: http://toledoblade.com/article/20100820/NEWS16/8190344

 

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...<<Clears throat to imitate member of the general public who doesn't understand railroads>>...

 

"You mean a private enterprise owns these tracks AND the property on which they set? And so they have to pay for their own law enforcement officers? And pay property taxes? And pay liability insurance? And pay interest on private capital debt to maintain and improve the tracks?

 

"How in the hell have any of you railroads managed to stayed in business all these years against modes of transportation that don't have to pay for these things?!?!?"

 

...<<impersonation concluded>>...

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CSX warned: Fix bridges      

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 

 

CSX Transportation needs to clean up its act when it comes to crumbling railroad bridges, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown told the Lorain, Ohio, Morning Tribune. Citing debris falling from Lorain's 28th Street underpass, Brown wrote to CSXT Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward. He encouraged swift action to ensure falling concrete, wood and screws don't harm pedestrians or the drivers of cars and trucks going under the railroad bridges.

 

"I am hopeful that these and potential other public safety concerns will quickly be remedied," Brown wrote. "The citizens of Ohio and visitors to our state deserve swift action to ensure that possible harm related to these bridges is avoided.

 

...Brown also cited a Cincinnati news report last week. There pieces of the C&O railroad bridge on the banks of the Ohio River are falling from the span, putting pedestrians and drivers at risk of serious injury, the letter said. In Ashtabula, an August news report detailed 101-year-old Lake Avenue Bridge that was littered with fallen concrete and missing anchor bolts, according to Brown.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.rtands.com/newsflash/csx-warned-fix-bridges.html

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McCord underpass gets initial green light

State panel advises $13.3M for project

By DAVID PATCH

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

An underpass to replace McCord Road's busy railroad crossing near Springfield High School and the Spring Meadows shopping area has been recommended for $13.3 million by a state panel that sets priorities for major transportation projects in Ohio, potentially closing a budget gap that had put the underpass on hold.

 

The crossing is used by about 24,000 vehicles and roughly 80 trains per day, including four daily Amtrak passenger trains.

 

Almost a year ago, on Dec. 16, 2009, two students were struck by one of the Amtrak trains as they attempted to run across the tracks ahead of it at the crossing. Cody Brown, 15, a freshman, was killed, while his friend, Brianna Mullinger, a 16-year-old sophomore, lost a leg and suffered other injuries.

 

Full story at:

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101211/NEWS16/101219942

 

Project map at: http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/misc?url=/templates/zoom.pbs&Site=TO&Date=20101211&Category=NEWS16&ArtNo=101219942&Ref=AR

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NS news release:

 

http://www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nscorp/Media/News%20Releases/2010/brainy_ohio.html

 

Norfolk Southern's 'Train Your Brain' public safety awareness program heads to Ohio

 

NORFOLK, VA. - It's on to Ohio in 2011 for "Brainy" and Norfolk Southern's "Train Your Brain" safety campaign after completing a two-year successful run in east central and northern Indiana.

 

The 2010 campaign made its own mark for attention-grabbing creativity, no small feat for a program that from its beginning has featured a costumed giant pink walking brain as its mascot. Brainy is a silent safety sentry who without saying a word helps train people to be smart around grade crossings and railroad property. Brainy made 18 public appearances in 2010, from the 13th Annual BBQ RibFest at Fort Wayne to the gridiron clash between Notre Dame and Utah, one of seven Notre Dame home games that Brainy attended. No one could miss the rotating brain perched atop the Train Your Brain tent at tailgating events. Fans had their photos taken with Brainy and viewed them on Brainy's Facebook page and on the Train Your Brain website at www.brainysworld.com.

 

"This is great that Norfolk Southern is taking the time to give back to the community," and, "Brainy is a celebrity," are typical actual comments made by guests who visited the Train Your Brain tent.

 

David Julian, NS vice president safety and environmental, said a serious message is behind the campaign's whimsical approach. "Most all car-train collisions and trespass incidents, along with the resulting tragic injuries and deaths, are preventable by drivers and pedestrians being safe around railroad tracks and paying attention to highway warning signs and signals," Julian said.

 

The campaign was refreshed in 2010 by dramatic billboards featuring slogans such as, "I raced a train and all I got was this lousy full-body cast." Pizza patrons in Muncie, South Bend, and Fort Wayne got a side order of safety along with their pepperoni as Train Your Brain attached a lifesaving message to 100,000 pizza delivery boxes. In a stroke of good timing, the campaign's theater screen ads started running about the same time as the train crash movie "Unstoppable" started showing.

 

In 2010, the campaign distributed a total of 45,863 novelties, including 3,218 T-shirts, 15,300 stress brains, 12,475 puzzle sheets, 4,050 stickers, and 3,720 car decals.

 

Norfolk Southern launched Train Your Brain in 2007 in Memphis, Tenn., and took the campaign to Raleigh, N.C., in 2008. Indiana, traditionally a high-incidence state for car-train crashes and trespass violations, was targeted in 2009 and 2010. Next year, the campaign will concentrate in two Ohio corridors: Portsmouth-Bellevue, and Cleveland west to the state line.

 

Norfolk Southern's Grade Crossing Oversight Committee, an interdepartmental team that coordinates the company's overall highway-rail grade crossing and trespass prevention programs, provides direction for Train Your Brain, with support from the safety, law, operations, and corporate communications departments, and the creative team of the Archer Malmo advertising agency in Memphis, Tenn. Rick Harris, NS director corporate communications, and Bill Barringer, NS director grade crossing safety, administer the campaign.

 

The message is simple: Think smart at highway-rail grade crossings, and stay off railroad property and equipment. For more information, visit www.brainysworld.com. Norfolk Southern also is a longtime supporter of the national highway-rail grade crossing safety campaign, Operation Lifesaver.

 

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.

 

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Officer haunted by woman's fatal decision

Monday, January 3, 2011  02:51 AM

By Gina Potthoff

 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Maybe she left something in the car. Or maybe she was trying to save her only means of transportation.

 

The reason Jennifer Nicole Merriman ran back to her car just before a train struck it last month was lost when the 30-year-old mother of three boys and a girl died on that cold, snowy night, Dec. 7.

 

But that doesn't keep her family or the off-duty police officer who tried to save her from trying to find answers.

 

Read more at: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/01/03/officer-haunted-by-womans-fatal-decision.html?sid=101

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Marion man crossing tracks on foot didn't heed whistle

BY JESSICA CUFFMAN • The Marion Star • January 25, 2011

 

MARION -- The crew of a train that struck and killed at 70-year-old man Sunday night said they saw him attempting to cross the tracks and blew the horn to warn him.

 

Lt. Matt Bayles of the Marion Police Department said it's unknown where Jerry Billups was coming from, but he appeared to be heading back to his home on Bennett Street.

 

He was struck at the Kenton Avenue crossing as he was walking from the northwest side of the tracks to the southeast side.

 

Full story at: http://www.marionstar.com/article/20110125/NEWS01/101250302/-1/

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Train blasts spark evacuations in Hancock County

Ethanol carriers explode after derailment

 

By MIKE SIGOV

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

ARCADIA, Ohio — Burning ethanol lit up the night sky for miles around the wreckage of a train that derailed in northeast Hancock County early Sunday, causing no injuries but evacuating nearby families indefinitely because of the risk of explosions.

 

Twenty-six cars of a 62-car Norfolk Southern train jumped the tracks at about 2:20 a.m. in Cass Township, and the contents of those that ruptured in the impact caught fire. The denatured ethanol in other tank cars that were not breached immediately was heated by the flames until it boiled and the tanks could no longer withstand the pressure, causing explosions that sent fireballs bursting spectacularly into the sky.

 

About 30 residences within two miles of the derailment scene were evacuated Sunday morning during the peak explosion risk. By midafternoon, authorities determined the risk to have diminished enough to reduce the evacuation to a one-mile radius, allowing all but eight of those families to return home.

 

Full story at: http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110207/NEWS16/110209464

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Senate bill would ease impact of PTC mandate   

Wednesday, February 09, 2011 

 

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), senior Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced legislation Feb. 8 that, while maintaining the Positive Train Control mandate, would ease its financial impact on the railroads.

 

The bill, co-sponsored by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), would substantially reduce the number ofmiles railroad are required to equip with PTC.

 

Implementing out the mandate of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, to Federal Railroad Administration ordered the installation of PTC on an estimated 73,000 miles of track that move passenger trains or and freight cars containing toxic inhalation hazard chemicals. Deadline: Dec. 31, 2015.

 

Full story at: http://www.railwayage.com/breaking-news/senate-bill-would-ease-impact-of-ptc-mandate.html

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Crossings, trespassing cause 95% of rail deaths   

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 

 

Highway-rail and trespassing accidents are responsible for more than 95% of all fatalities reported by U.S. railroads, the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis noted as it released preliminary accident/incident statistics for calendar 2010.

 

The report said trespassing caused 451 deaths last year, up 8.2% from 2009.

 

Highway-rail collisions caused 261 fatalities, an increase of 5.7%.

Read more at: http://www.railwayage.com/breaking-news/crossings-trespassing-cause-95-of-rail-deaths.html

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from Readings: Harpers Magazine Nov 1994

FATAL ACCIDENTS: THE BRIGHT SIDE

 

The following letter to the editor was originally published in the Arizona Republic. Author lives in Phoenix.

 

Every day some new do-gooder is trying to save us from ourselves. We have so many laws and safety commisions to ensure our safety that it seems nearly impossible to have an accident. The problem is that we need accidents, and lots of them.

 

Danger is nature's way of eliminating stupid people. Without safety, stupid people die in accidents. Since the dead don't reproduce, our species becomes progressively more intelligent (or at least less stupid).

 

With safety, however well-intentioned it may be, we are devolving into half-witted mutants, because idiots, who by all rights should be dead, are spared from their rightful early graves and are free to breed even more imbeciles.

 

Let's do away with safety and improve our species. Take up smoking. Jaywalk. Play with blasting caps. Swim right after a big meal. Stick something small in your ear. Take your choice of dangerous activity and do it with gusto. Future generations will thank you.

 

Add to that list "Driving around lowered railroad crossing gates; and, walking down a railroad track."

 

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Proposed Rule Would Require Railroads to Establish Emergency Notification Systems for Reporting of Unsafe Highway-Rail Grade

Crossing Conditions

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

U.S.Department of Transportation

Office of Public Affairs

Washington, D.C.

www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm

News

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FRA 2-11

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Contact: Robert Kulat

Tel.: 202-493-6024

 

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today proposed a rule that would make it easier for the public to report unsafe conditions at highway-rail grade crossings. The proposal would require railroads to establish toll-free telephone numbers to allow the public to report malfunctioning highway-rail grade crossing warning signals, disabled vehicles blocking crossings, or any other unsafe conditions at crossings.

 

Under the proposed rule, once the railroad receives a call from the public about a malfunctioning crossing signal or a vehicle stalled on the crossing, train operators in that area would be immediately notified of the unsafe condition in an effort to avoid an accident.

 

“Giving the public the power to report unsafe conditions at a highway-rail grade crossing can save lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

 

The proposal to establish Emergency Notification Systems would require railroads to post a toll-free telephone number and the Department’s National Crossing Inventory identification number at every highway-rail crossing and explicitly authorized pathway grade crossing. Currently, all of the larger, Class I freight railroads and larger passenger railroads have some type of system in place by which they receive notification of unsafe conditions at grade crossings. However, not all smaller railroads have such a system in place. Based on National Crossing Inventory data from the end of December 2009, the proposed rule would affect 211,401 highway-rail and pathway grade crossings and 594 railroads.

 

 

“With a uniform emergency notification system all railroads must follow, we could cut the number of highway-rail crossing incidents,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.  “Standardization would simplify the process for both the public and railroads, saving precious time and lives.”

 

The proposed rule is required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, and was developed following public outreach efforts by FRA. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is available at http://www.fra.dot.gov/Pages/321.shtml. Comment is due 60 days after the proposal’s publication in the Federal Register.

 

 

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Press Release from Operation Lifesaver:

 

Operation Lifesaver Notes Rise in 2010 U.S. Crossing Collisions, Pedestrian-Train Incidents

By Operation Lifesaver 3-10-2011

 

WASHINGTON, DC, March 10, 2011 – An improving economy may have contributed to an increase in vehicle-train and pedestrian collisions, deaths and injuries in 2010, according to Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI, http://www.oli.org) the national nonprofit rail safety education organization, citing preliminary 2010 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics.

 

“The statistics show that as America pulls out of the recession and people are driving more, we need to redouble our efforts to educate the public about taking unnecessary risks at highway-rail crossings because any incident is one too many,” said OLI President Helen Sramek.  “Another disturbing finding is the continued rise in pedestrian incidents on or near train tracks.”

 

The FRA statistics indicate that there were 2,004 vehicle-train collisions in the U.S. in 2010, up 4.2 percent from the 1,924 incidents in 2009; those 2010 collisions resulted in 260 deaths and 810 injuries, with crossing deaths up 5.3 percent and crossing injuries up 9.8 percent from the 247 deaths and 738 injuries in 2009.  States with the most crossing collisions in 2010 were Texas, Illinois, California, Indiana and Louisiana.

 

U.S. Department of Transportation figures also show that vehicle miles traveled in 2010 (2,999,634 according to the Federal Highway Administration) were the third-highest ever, Sramek noted. “With more people traveling on our roadways, there’s a greater chance for an incident to occur,” she said.

 

An additional 451 pedestrians were killed and 382 injured while trespassing on train tracks last year, versus 417 deaths and 343 injuries in 2009. Total trespasser deaths rose 8.2 percent and trespasser injuries rose 11.4 percent in 2010. States with the most pedestrian-train casualties (deaths and injuries combined) in 2010 were California, Texas, Illinois, Florida and New York.

 

“Despite overall gains in rail safety in the past decade, these latest statistics show that Operation Lifesaver must continue its work to educate drivers and pedestrians about the dangers present around tracks and trains,” said Sramek.

 

About Operation Lifesaver

 

Operation Lifesaver's mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of certified volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. Learn more at  http://www.oli.org.

 

 

http://www.oli.org/news/view/operation-lifesaver-notes-rise-in-2010-u.s.-crossing-collisions-pedestrian

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School Bus Driver Charged After Pulling In Front Of A Train

By Rick Reitzel

 

On February 16th a Zanesville City Schools bus driver with five high school kids on board, drove in front of a train, in what school officials called a near-miss.

 

"The train crew thought they came within 200 feet of the bus on the crossing," said Terry Martin, Superintendent of Zanesville City Schools. 

 

A school district investigation found, because she did not stop at the crossing near Woodlawn ave. and Pershing road on Zanesville's west side, the bus driver, 41-year-old Christina Wisecarver put six lives in jeopardy.

 

 

Read more at: http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/2011/mar/11/school-bus-driver-charged-after-pulling-front-trai-ar-421101/

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Railroads Really Rolling

 

The Association of American Railroads reported March 15 that 2010 was the safest year in the history of U.S. freight railroading, with the number of train accidents involving Class I freight railroads falling by 3 percent and the number of employee casualties falling by 14.2 percent. A few days earlier, the Transportation Technology Center (TTC), an AAR R&D and testing subsidiary that furthers safety and operational efficiency, celebrated a year without a lost-time work day case.

 

In addition, train derailments dropped to historic lows in 2010, falling 9.6 percent from 2009. Train accidents caused by defective track or human error, and equipment fell by 9.4 percent, 9.6 percent, and 14.2 percent, respectively. Grade crossing collisions rose for the first time in six years, however, increasing by 7.8 percent from the 2009 level.

 

AAR based its calculations on Federal Railroad Administration preliminary year-end data. "These safety accomplishments demonstrate the depth of the freight railroad industry's commitment to the safety of our employees, the communities we serve, and the country's rail network infrastructure," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. "Safety is not an option for the railroads. It drives how we conduct our business day in and day out. The safety challenge is never-ending. Our industry's excellent safety record reflects its commitment to innovation and investment."

 

Read more at: http://ohsonline.com/Blogs/The-OHS-Wire/2011/03/Railroads-Really-Rolling.aspx

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PTC, hours-of-service concerns voiced at House 'Rail Safety Act' Hearing

 

The U.S. rail industry’s record safety achievements are due in large part to the resources freight railroads have committed to improving safety during the past 30 years, and safety will not be bolstered if resources are directed to positive train control (PTC) that would have had a more pronounced impact if spent elsewhere, Association of American Railroads (AAR) officials told House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members during a hearing yesterday on the status of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

 

Railroads have made large investments in safety-enhancing infrastructure, equipment and technology, as well as employee training and cooperative programs with other safety stakeholder groups, such as labor unions, shippers and federal regulators, said Norfolk Southern Corp. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Manion, who testified on behalf of the AAR.

 

It is “short sighted” to place an enormous emphasis on one technology — PTC — when less costly, more effective alternatives exist for reducing the risk of accidents, he said.ty Act' hearing

 

 

Read more at: http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article/PTC-hoursofservice-concerns-voiced-at-House-Rail-Safety-Act-hearing--26073

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(Medina County)

 

Rail crossing in Sharon Township to get a safety fix

Filed by Maria Kacik Kula March 22nd, 2011 in News.

 

SHARON TWP. — There’s a lot going on at state Route 162 and Boneta Road.

 

The two roads meet at a skewed angle. Grade changes have some drivers climbing a hill just before the intersection, and the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway line runs right through the junction, which a local rail safety task force calls the most dangerous crossing in Medina County.

[

The Ohio Rail Development Commission has notified officials it is securing federal funding to install flashing lights and gates at the railroad crossing at state Route 162 and Boneta Road in Sharon Township.

 

Now, after three years of petitioning state agencies, somebody’s doing something about it.

 

Read ore at: http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/2011/03/22/rail-crossing-in-sharon-township-gets-a-safety-fix/

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