Tag Archives: Ohio

Colombian,OH: Was it intentional line of inquiry

30 Jan

A woman was killed early in the morning of January 28th, 2017 on the South Main Street level crossing of the Norfolk Southern right-of-way. The person driving a small SUV stopped on the level crossing and remained there after the barriers lowered for an approaching train. Immediately before the collision occurring with a fatal consequence, an emergency call to the local police alerted them to the fact that someone had stopped on the South Main Street level crossing. Police were despatched but did not arrive at the crossing in time to intervene. A police investigation is underway to establish the cause of the collision. Clearly, a line of inquiry is to determine if the fatality was, on the balance of probability, intentional.

30 Nov

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has granted CSX Transportation’s petition, submitted in March 2014, to close the level crossing at Bloomingrove / New Winchester Road in Washington Township to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The decision belatedly follows local public meetings in July 2014 and an evidentiary hearing in March this year.

The closure of the level crossing was opposed by Morrow County Commissioners, officials and residents despite a lack of demonstrable need for the crossing to remain in use.

In announcing its decision, PUCO stated that the passive crossing is currently ranked 110th most dangerous level crossing in Ohio out of approximately 5,800 crossings. PUCO also said that there is no documented accident history at this crossing. Closing the crossing will not have any significant impact on the operations of the local fire departments and EMS services, according to PUCO.

The PUCO said that they considered the traffic moment, speed of trains, poor sight lines, the distance between the tracks and the skewed nature of the crossing; thus determining that the is level crossing to be particularly dangerous.





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.

Marion, OH: Upgrades on the way at five crossings

23 Jan

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has approved projects for upgrading level crossings to an automatic half-barrier configuration. Both North Greenwood Street level crossings must be upgraded by October 14th, 2015, while  the Barnhart Street, Madison Avenue and Jefferson Street crossings must be completed by July 14th, 2016. The projects will be funded by federal dollars with ongoing maintenance falling to the railway infrastructure provider.

Jackson, OH: Dormant level crossing to be removed

18 Nov

The Ohio Department of Transportation (OhDoT) in conjunction with the City of Jackson and the Ohio South Central Railroad (OSCR), and the Ohio Rail Development Commission have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding to remove a level crossing on State Highway 93 in Jackson County.

The level crossing, which is located approximately two miles north of Oak Hill, is owned by the city of Jackson and the dormant railway is operated by OSCR. The roadway over the level crossing has deteriorated significantly and poses a safety hazard to motorists. Therefore, it has been agreed that the best solution would be to remove the rails through the crossing and replace the roadway. OSCR will remove the flashing lights at the crossing.

The agreement put in place to allow the removal of the crossing provides for the railway through the crossing to retain an active status and for the level crossing to be reinstated when traffic over the dormant railway is resumed.

LXinfo commends this approach as all too often level crossings of dormant railways are left in situ, often for years as motorist behaviours regress with the risk that they will become complacent and ignore controls at level crossings over which trains are running.

Akron, OH: Motorised wheelchair user in fatal crossing collision

7 Jul

Witness have reported that the level crossing barriers had lowered before a man in a motorised wheelchair circumvented the barrier and continued into the path of an approaching train with fatal consequences. The fatal incident occurred at about 06.50 on June 29th, 2014 at the level crossing located on East South Street, adjacent to the intersection with South Broadway, in Akron, Ohio.

The level crossing at which the latest fatality occurred has been the scene of previous fatal events in 2000 and 2004, the former has similarities with the June 29th, 2014 event in that both involved motorised wheelchairs. The Summit County Medical Examiner will consider whether the latest fatality was accidental or intentional as was the case in 2000.

Ohio: Level crossing upgrades make good progress

10 Apr

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved seven level crossing projects in Columbiana, Defiance, Mahoning, Putnam, Seneca and Summit counties. The upgrades will be made as follows:

• CSX Transportation (CSX) will install flashing lights at the State Route 18 level crossing in the city of Defiance. CSX will also install flashing lights and barriers at the St. Peter Road/Township Road 96 level crossing in Big Spring Township, Seneca County.

• Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) will install flashing lights and barriers at the Hazel Run Road/Township Road 879 level crossing in Washington Township, Columbiana County.

• Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway (W&LE) will install flashing lights and barriers at the Fairway Plaza Drive (002-12 crossing in the city of Akron, Summit County.

•Youngstown & Austintown Railroad (YARR) will install flashing lights and gates at the Hazelwood Avenue level crossing in the city of Youngstown, Mahoning County.

CSX, NS, W&LE and YARR will be responsible for completing construction of their projects by January 9th, 2015. Funding for the upgrades will be provided by federal funds.

Separately, the PUCO approved an agreement between the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC), CSX and the village of Columbus Grove in which CSX will install active level crossing warning devices at the Pearl Street and Broadway Street level crossings. The Maple Street crossing will be permanently closed. CSX should complete the project by April 9, 2015. Funding for these upgrades will be shared among the PUCO, ORDC, CSX and the Village.

The PUCO is responsible for evaluating Ohio’s public grade crossings to determine the need for installing active warning devices. The annual number of train-motor vehicle crashes in Ohio has decreased significantly, from 123 in 2001 to 63 in 2013.

The Ohio Rail Hotline, at (866) 814-RAIL (7245), provides Ohioans with a toll-free resource for all level crossing questions. For more information regarding these crossings, access the Ohio railroad information system website at http://gradecrossings.puco.ohio.gov/.