Tag Archives: New York

Valhalla, NY: Further incident two-years on from multiple fatality accident

30 Jan

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.




Rockland & Westchester: NY: State Senator Carlucci pushes safety investigation

19 May

New York State Senator David Carlucci (D – Rockland/Westchester), hosted a press conference on Friday, May 15th to call for the passage of S3858, legislation that will authorize the New York State Department of Transportation to collaborate with other organizations to find out which grade crossing lanes are not safe, and how much it would cost to fix them.

The House Appropriations Committee unanimously approved an amendment to increase funding set aside for railroad grade crossing improvements in the Highway Safety Improvement Program by $130 million. Although the numbers of accidents and fatalities at level grade rail crossings have fallen steadily on a national level, they have increased in New York State.

“We need to seriously examine why the number of grade crossing accidents has increased in New York, and what we can do to fix them as soon as possible,” said Senator Carlucci. “It is imperative that a comprehensive study is performed to evaluate where we should be investing our resources for infrastructure upgrades – lives depend on it.”

S3858 will give New York State the ability to hold hearings, and provide a proper and professional evaluation on where the faulty rail lines are and how much it would cost to fix them.

Specifically, the study will examine:

  • The safety of level grade crossings and the feasibility of implementing design changes to increase safety and to reduce the likelihood of obstruction at crossings;
  • Adequacy of traffic and pedestrian warning signals;
  • Federal funding available for safety improvement projects; and the feasibility of equipping passenger and commuter trains with technology to increase safety;
  • Which level grade rail crossings are considered to be the most dangerous throughout the state as defined criteria promulgated in the study.

Valhalla, NY: NTSB issues preliminary report

25 Feb

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a preliminary report on the crash between a Metro-North passenger train and a SUV in Valhalla on February 3rd, 2015 in which five passengers and the driver of the SUV were killed.

The NTSB report states that the SUV was stopped with the rear of the vehicle in line with a level crossing barrier while the crossing closure sequence automatically lowered the barrier which struck the SUV. The NTSB says that this led to the motorist to leave her vehicle in order to look at the rear where it had been struck by the lowering barrier. The NTSB further states that the woman then returned to her vehicle and moved it forward at which point it was struck by a train travelling at 58 mph when an emergency brake application was initiated about 90 metres before the crossing slowing the train to 49 mph at the point of impact

The north bound train pushed the eastbound SUV about 200 metres along the track. As result of the collision the traction current third rail detached from its mountings, pierced the SUV and entered the leading vehicle through the floor. In total 12 sections of the third rail, each 12 metres long were found inside the leading vehicle.

Metro-North has estimated the material damage from the crash alone amounts to be USD3.7 million.


Valhalla, NY: Six killed in passenger train crossing collision

6 Feb

Following the fatal collision of a Metro-North passenger train with a road vehicle on the Commerce Street level crossing in Valhalla, some 20 miles North of New York City,  that killed six people and injured 12, a New York congressman wants federal grants reinstating to fund the requirements contained within a presently unfunded component of the Rail Safety Improvement Act. Representative Sean Maloney whose 18th District includes some of the route impacted by the collision on February 3rd, 2015 wants grants of USD400 million over the next four years to address risk at dangerous and heavily trafficked level crossings.

Five Metro-North passengers and the driver of a private road vehicle were killed when a peak-hour commuter train hit the SUV at a speed of 58 mph on a level crossing adjacent to the Taconic Parkway that federal investigators have said was functioning correctly at the time of the collision which occurred after the road vehicle had stopped on the level crossing. The female motorist exited her vehicle and then got back in and was trying to move her vehicle clear when the train struck the vehicle.

As a result of the impact, the leading vehicle of the train caught fire and burned extensively,possibly as a result of igniting fuel from the SUV. The third rail providing traction current penetrated through the floor of the train’s leading vehicle.


New Hyde Park, New York: Taxi driver loses control, vehicle catches fire

9 Dec

A taxi caught fire after the driver apparently lost control in heavy rain at the New Hyde Park Road level crossing adjacent to the New Hyde Park station of the Long Island Railroad. The taxi ended-up in contact with the energised traction current third rail. The resultant switching-off of the traction current generated significant train delays while upwards of 30 New Hyde park firefighters’ tackled the vehicle conflagration. The incident occurred at about 21.10 on December 6th, 2013.

Verona, New York: State DoT’s public hearing looms

28 Jun

New York State’s Department of Transportation (NY DoT) has announced that the public hearing of the proposal to close the Sand Hill Road level crossing in Verona. The case for closure is that there is an alternative grade-separated route across the CSX right-of-way which carries around 60 trains daily. The Randel Road / County Route 48 road-over-rail bridge which provides the alternate route is located immediately to the west of Sand Hill Road.