The end of a separate railways budget after 93 years appears to be working in favour of the railways. Central Government’s allocation for railways in 2017-2018 is INR 1.3 trillion, an increase of INR 1.4 billion over the comparable 2016-2017 budget.
Included within the allocated funds is a ring-fenced INR one trillion spread over five years for safety improvements and includes delivery of the government’s pledge to eliminate all unmanned level crossings by 2019.
Biloxi’s city administration is working with CSX to determine how the number of level crossings in the city can be reduced and traffic flow improved. With 29 level crossings across the city the preferred outcome would see six or more crossings eliminated with two replacement crossings constructed.
The new crossings would be located on the planned extensions of Popp’s Ferry Road and Pine Street. At present the specific crossings targeted for elimination have still to be identified. However, with 20 level crossings in the east of the city between Porter Avenue and Oak Street this CSX corridor looks most likely to deliver options for closures sufficient to justify the new level crossings.
Now road traffic counts are on-going, the results of which when combined with accident histories should lead to the identification of specific crossings for closure.
Media and community interest in the Commerce Street level crossing in Valhalla, New York, has been heightened by a further incident after an accident killed five railway passengers and a motorist. In the latest incident at about 11.00am on January 27th, 2017, a barrier was knocked-off, it is presumed because it was struck by a vehicle using the crossing when the barrier was descending or had already descended.
In the aftermath of an accident at the level crossing of the US90 highway near Jeanerette, Louisiana that cost the life of a truck driver, the State’s Department of Transportation is further considering how the level crossing might be eliminated.
The accident at about 11.30am on January 25th, 2017 was unusual in a number of ways. Firstly the fact that there is a level crossing in the first place is unusual as US-90 is in line for upgrading to Interstate standards which would require grade separation. The railway crossing at grade serves a major sugar processing factory. In considering grade separation the options regrade separating by way of a road over rail bridge or by a pipeline removing the need for the highway-rail crossing.
Secondly it wasn’t a collision between a train and a truck. On this occasion a truck had stopped because a train was present when it was rear-ended by another heavy truck, the driver of which was killed. This was because the load shifted and compromised the integrity of the driving cab with fatal consequences.
Logic says that grade separation is the only answer even though it will prove costly, a point recognised by Louisiana DoT which was already at the feasibility stage of a project to eliminate this accident prone level crossing.