28.9.05

WHEN IT'S A TIE AT THE RAILROAD CROSSING, YOU LOSE. As part of the New Haven - Boston electrification and acceleration project, Amtrak eliminated by construction of overpasses or underpasses most of the level crossings on the route, apart from a few near New London, Connecticut, where the curves and a stop for most trains limit speeds to 60 mph or less.

Via California Yankee, news that an automobile got in the path of an Acela Express today. The driver and her grandson died; her granddaughter lived.

National Corridors has a suggestion.
People are all too fallible, and Murphy's Law will always apply unless we end the system that permits collisions in the first place. It is time to stop the insane practice of permitting cars and trucks direct access to property where even a low-speed accident is often fatal, and which puts in danger not only railroad passengers and crew, but the health and safety of surrounding communities as well.
There are other risks for policymakers to assess, some of which have more favorable cost-benefit ratios than eliminating level crossings. (That's apparently how Illinois authorities figure. Watch a stack train hit six crossings in 10 blocks of DeKalb while crowding the official 70 mph and marvel -- from a distance.) But level crossings are dangerous on high speed railroads. Today a family, tomorrow a truckload of heating oil?

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