Tag Archives: North Carolina

Durham, NC: USD27 million grade separation complete

15 Jul

State transportation officials gathered in Durham on July 12th, 2016 to celebrate the completion of a construction project designed to enhance rail safety and efficiency.

“To help fulfill Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision, our Rail Division is working to enhance rail safety and connectivity across the state,” said North Carolina’s Transportation Secretary, Nick Tennyson. “These projects will modernize railroad track, roads and bridges along the corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte.”

The project is funded through a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration and was completed in partnership with the North Carolina Railroad Company and Norfolk Southern Railway.

Construction on the Hopson Road grade separation and passing track project began in 2013 and was the first Piedmont Improvement Program project to break ground. It was designed to improve road safety and speed up train travel along the Charlotte-Raleigh corridor by eliminating railroad crossings at Hopson Road and Church Street. A bridge wide enough to accommodate any future widening of Hopson Road was also built to carry train tracks over the road, replacing the existing street level crossing.

The project also constructed a new 3.3-mile passing track between McCrimmon Parkway in Morrisville and I-40 in Durham.

The improvements will help provide schedule reliability for passenger service as the addition of a second track will allow passenger trains to pass slower freight trains. The new bridge over Hopson Road will reduce the risk of automobile/train collisions, improve safety for automobile and rail passengers and reduce automobile and train traffic congestion.

“This project is a result of long-term vision and collaboration among all the partners involved,” said Scott Saylor, President of the North Carolina Railroad Company. “The Hopson Road grade separation and new passing track will have an immediate and significant impact on both rail and highway safety, as well as increased efficiencies for our freight and passenger rail providers.”

Delivery of the $27 million project is a partnership effort. NCDOT constructed the railroad bridge, road realignment and grading work for the parallel track. Norfolk Southern built the additional track line, and the North Carolina Railroad Company purchased the land for railroad improvements.

NC, SC, OH: Norfolk Souther’s safety train tour continues

3 Aug

1438198639599Last week, Norfolk Southern took its Whistle-Stop Safety Train to the Carolinas to remind motorists and pedestrians to be safe and alert when around railroad tracks and trains. The train, operated by Norfolk Southern in conjunction with Operation Lifesaver stopped in eight cities on a three-day, 390-mile trip from Charleston, SC to Asheville, NC. This week, a 354-mile trip will across Ohio will start in Cincinnati and stop in Dayton, Columbus, Bellevue, Cleveland, and Alliance

“Pedestrians and drivers often do not realise how dangerous it is to walk on or near railroad tracks, or that it can take a mile or more for a train to come to a complete stop,” said Cayela Wimberly, Norfolk Southern director of grade crossing safety. “Our goal is to share information that will stop people from risking their lives by trying to beat a train to the crossing or using railroad tracks as a shortcut.”

Across the United States. last year, 267 people died in highway-rail grade crossing incidents, an increase of 16 percent compared with 2013, and deaths due to trespassing on train tracks jumped 22 percent to 526, according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

“The use of cell phones, texting, and listening to music while driving has contributed to people being distracted from the roadway and the warning signs alerting them to railroad tracks,” said Janice Cowen, Operation Lifesaver South Carolina state coordinator. “People do not realize that it is criminal trespassing to walk on or near railroad tracks. Not only is it against the law, you could lose your life.”

The safety train includes two restored Pullman passenger rail cars with television monitors showing a live video feed from a camera mounted on the lead locomotive. Passengers see firsthand what engineers see every day from the locomotive cab. The train also includes the Norfolk Southern Exhibit Car, which showcases the benefits of rail freight transportation.

Invited guests include county and municipal elected leaders, state and local transportation officials, law enforcement officers, emergency responders, school transportation directors, trucking officials, news media, and others who have a vested interest in public safety.

State and local law enforcement agencies are on hand to enforce correct behaviour at level crossings along the route of the safety train.

Aboard the safety train, riders are hearing first-hand about the dangers of trespassing on the railway from Mark Kalina Jr., who survived a 2012 pedestrian-train incident in Ohio and is now a double amputee.

“Two years and nine months ago, I made the biggest mistake of my life. To save five minutes, I took a shortcut on the railroad tracks. Now I travel the country warning others never to make the same mistake,” said Kalina, who is the spokesperson for the Operation Lifesaver “See Tracks? Think Train!” safety campaign.

Maxton, NC: Opposition to crossing closure risks bigger inconvenience if three are closed instead

25 Apr

Maxton has three level crossings of the CSX Transportation (CSX) right-of-way and risks all three being closed if it doesn’t go along with the proposed upgrade of two crossings and the elimination of the third. CSX has offered to fund the upgrades of two of the crossings which are to be found on North First, North Third and Brooklyn streets.

Now, local politicians have failed to agree on a way forward as representations are being made that closure of the level crossing on North First Street will bring with it hardship to residents which is expressed in a 150 signature petition. Ironically, the original proposal was to close the North Third Street level crossing; but, this was switched to North First Street be causes of opposition to the original proposal.

Next step, talks between City administrators and CSX.

Halifax, NC: truck stranded for 15 minutes before it was struck by a passenger train

11 Mar

The unfolding investigation into the accident in which an Amtrak passenger train struck an oversized load tractor-traler combination is focussed on establishing why the train was not stopped short of the level crossing at which the accident occurred. This is a significant line of inquiry as reportedly the oversized load combo had been attempting to cross the railway for at least 15 minutes although a State Trooper escorting the oversized load said that the railway was obstructed for five minutes.

The accident which occurred at about noon on March 9th, 2015 derailed the locomotive and leading passenger carrying vehicles. However, there was no loss of life although more than 50 people were injured, mostly slightly. The truck concerned was being escorted by police as the outsize load carrying vehicle was 164ft (50m) long. It is reported that the truck was unable to clear the crossing at the first attempt and that it reversed at least once to try again.

It is to be established whether all permits necessary for the movement of the truck and its oversized load of a modular building had been obtained and whether in advance of such a permit being issued whether the risks associated with crossing the railway had been assessed and taken into account. Also, when the truck got into difficulties, what steps were taken to advise the railway of the obstruction. If the railway was informed, what they did to prevent a collision is also subject to federal scrutiny

The automatic half-barrier level crossing on which the collision occurred functioned correctly when the northbound train was approaching the level crossing, with the barriers descending onto the truck attempting to turn left across the railway on to a road leading to the I-95 freeway.. At this point, the truck driver jumped clear of his cab. Witnesses have said that other traffic on the highway running broadly parallel to the railway had built-up and prevented the truck backing-clear of the railway. The Truck was operated by Guy M. Turner Inc, a specialist in the movement of over-sized loads by road.


North Carolina: NCDoT funded upgrade projects completed

21 Dec

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDoT) and US Department of Transportation co-funded projects to install lights and barriers at the Boyd and Liberty Streets level crossings of the CSX right-of-way in Winterville, Pitt Count, have been completed. Likewise, the level crossings at the intersection of Moody Town and Goode Roads and the CSX right-of-way near Marion, McDowell County.

NCDoT and the US Department of Transportation also installed lights and barriers at the intersection of Piney Green Road and the Camp LeJeune Railroad’s right of-way in Jacksonville, Onslow County.

These projects in North Carolina are a part of a state-wide NCDoT programme to improve safety by adding active protection at public level crossings. Automatic warning devices are now in place at more than 2,600 of the 3,800 public level crossings in North Carolina.

Wilmington, NC: Level crossings force highway to elevate new highway

19 Nov

Wilmington City Council faces a tough decision when it eventually votes on a highway extension project. A key component of the decision is the need to address the way in which the proposed extension of Independence Boulevard from Randall Parkway to Martin Luther King Jr Drive.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation NCDoT) has indicated that it will only support an elevated highway which is financially the best way forward. This includes crossing two railways in a grade-separated manner to avoid in-situ level crossings of railway rights-of-way. Specifically, NCDoT has said that an at-grade highway would not be eligible for federal or state funding.

Raleigh, North Carolina: State receives safety fund dividend from NCRR

3 Jan

The State owned and commercially operated North Carolina Railroad (NCRR) paid a USD 15.5 million dividend to North Carolina’s Freight Rail and Safety Fund on December 20th, 2013. This dividend to the State is over-and-above the NCRR investment programme to enhance the carriers infrastructure.