• Re: Official: Upgrades were urged at Amtrak crash site where four died,

    From lighting tech at Mega Amusement@21:1/5 to governor.swill@gmail.com on Sun Sep 25 05:01:59 2022
    XPost: alt.fan.states.missouri, talk.politics.guns, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh XPost: sac.politics

    In article <t0a9o4$2b3qk$90@news.freedyn.de>
    governor.swill@gmail.com wrote:

    A dump truck driver thought he could outrun a speeding train.

    MENDON — The chief elected official in the Missouri county where
    an Amtrak train slammed into a dump truck said Tuesday that
    residents and county leaders have been pushing for a safety
    upgrade at the railroad crossing for nearly three years.
    Meanwhile, the toll from the accident rose to four deaths and
    150 injuries.

    A day after the deadly crash on Monday, the Missouri State
    Highway Patrol said people were taken to 10 hospitals with
    injuries ranging from minor to serious. By Tuesday afternoon, at
    least 15 people remained hospitalized. The dead — three
    passengers and the truck driver — have not been identified.

    Amtrak’s Southwest Chief was traveling from Los Angeles to
    Chicago when it struck the rear of the truck. Two locomotives
    and eight cars derailed. Amtrak officials said about 275
    passengers and 12 crew members were aboard.

    National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Jennifer L.
    Homendy said at a news conference that the truck was owned by MS
    Contracting of Brookfield, Missouri, and was transporting
    material to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project nearby.

    Homendy said investigators will download recorder information to
    determine the speed of the train, when the horn was blown and if
    the emergency brake was deployed. She said some of that
    information could be released as early as Wednesday. The speed
    limit at the crossing is 90 mph.

    The crossing in a rural area near Mendon in western Missouri has
    no lights or other signals to warn of an approaching train.

    Chariton County Presiding Commissioner Evan Emmerich said in an
    email to The Associated Press that resident Mike Spencer first
    brought his concerns about the crossing to a Dec. 2, 2019,
    commission meeting. He was told to contact the Missouri
    Department of Transportation’s Railroad Safety division. A week
    later, commissioners spoke with officials from the state agency
    and were told “it is on their plans to repair,” Emmerich said.

    After that, Emmerich cited other efforts by the commission. They
    included a March 2021 meeting with a state Railroad Safety
    division engineer at the crossing site; an email sent to the
    Railroad Safety division on May 23 to address concerns about
    visibility at the crossing; and a May 31 call to BNSF Railway,
    which owns the track, “to express our concerns with the
    visibility issue” at the crossing.

    In January, the Missouri Department of Transportation submitted
    to the Federal Railroad Administration its “State Freight & Rail
    Plan” plan. It included a proposal to install lights and gates,
    along with roadway improvements. The project was estimated at
    $400,000. Typically, the federal government would pay 80% and
    the county 20%.

    MoDOT spokeswoman Linda Horn said that with limited funds
    available, “it takes a while to get these prioritized.” She said
    the project has received approval in a four-year plan that runs
    through fiscal year 2026.

    BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent declined comment on “specific
    conversations” about upgrades to the crossing, citing the NTSB
    investigation, “however, I can tell you that BNSF has a
    proactive vegetation management program across our network,” she

    Spencer told The Associated Press that he is among several
    people who have complained that the overgrowth of brush and the
    steep incline from the road to the tracks makes it hard to see
    oncoming trains from either direction. Spencer, who grows corn
    and soybeans on land surrounding the intersection, said the
    crossing is especially dangerous for those driving heavy, slow
    farm equipment.

    Spencer is on the board of a local levee district. He said the
    dump truck driver was hauling rock for a levee on a local creek,
    a project that had been ongoing for a couple of days.

    Earlier this month, Spencer posted a video on Facebook of the
    crossing that shows the steep gravel incline leading up to it.

    “We have to cross this with farm equipment to get to several of
    our fields,” Spencer wrote with the posting. “We have been on
    the RR for several years about fixing the approach by building
    the road up, putting in signals, signal lights or just cutting
    the brush back.”

    Homendy said “passive” crossings like the one near Mendon make
    up about half of all crossings in the U.S. She said there are
    130,000 passive crossings nationwide and 3,500 in Missouri.

    The NTSB has for years recommended actions such as closing
    passive crossings or adding gates, bells and other upgrades at
    passive crossings, Homendy said. She said the agency also has
    recommended technology to alert drivers to the presence of an
    oncoming train at crossings such as the one at Mendon that are
    on an incline.

    “Lives could be saved,” she said.

    Kyle Bullard, a 21-year-old student at Lindenwood University in
    suburban St. Louis, was traveling from a friend’s home in Kansas
    City, Missouri, to Kalamazoo, Michigan, for a wedding. He fell
    10 feet onto his back when his cab tipped over.

    Bullard and his friend escaped and returned to help others out
    of the train, but he said he’s still bothered by the image of a
    woman buried in rubble. He said someone was holding her hand,
    and he realized he couldn’t do anything to help her.

    “We were grateful because we made it out alive, but we’re also
    sad because some people didn’t. We’re sorry for those families,"
    Bullard said. "Yeah, I survived the train crash and I helped
    people, but it’s like, I did also see someone die. So it’s just
    like, it is what it is. And I’m gonna have to move on from it.
    But it’s just gonna be always in the back of my head.”

    The incident in Missouri was among three fatal Amtrak accidents
    since Sunday.

    Three people in a car were killed Sunday afternoon when an
    Amtrak commuter train smashed into it in Northern California,
    authorities said. Also, on Monday in Detroit, two people died
    when their vehicle collided with an Amtrak train. Police Chief
    James White said officers were dispersing drag racers and one
    vehicle sped away and tried to beat the train.

    People have been injured or killed in at least six other
    accidents involving Amtrak trains since 2015. Last year, three
    people died and others were injured when an Amtrak derailed in
    north-central Montana as it traveled from Chicago to Seattle.

    Amtrak is a federally supported company that operates more than
    300 passenger trains daily in nearly every contiguous U.S. state
    and parts of Canada. The Southwest Chief takes about two days to
    travel from Los Angeles to Chicago, picking up passengers at
    stops in between.

    Ballentine reported from Columbia. Associated Press reporters
    Margaret Stafford in Kansas City and Jim Salter in O'Fallon,
    contributed to this report.

    This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune:
    Upgrades urged at Amtrak train crash site in Missouri, but no


    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)