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Hudson Valley Press

March 15th, 2017

Federal Review of RRX Warnings is Called For

Tuesday’s derailment happened when a piece of equipment got stuck at an at-grade crossing and was struck by the 77-car freight train.
NEWBURGH – The Federal Railroad Administration should review current standards for the time between the activation of train warning signals and the distance of an oncoming train, US Senator Charles Schumer said Friday.

The Senate minority leader and frequent visitor to the Hudson Valley when speaking out on issues, was back in Newburgh on Friday, assessing the damage from Tuesday’s derailment.

“These crashed, you can’t predict them, but they are preventable,” Schumer said. “We need to see if the amount of time of warning before the gate closes is too short. We need more money to help fix our road crossings which we have never had, and we need to notify local businesses when trains with dangerous materials come through. We have done it with the oil trains, but not with the others.”

“The latest grade crossing accident in Newburgh is another example of the dire need to make meaningful improvements in rail safety,” he said. “We dodged a bullet on Tuesday as this accident could have been far worse.” The senator said that is why he is urging the FRA “to prioritize a review of safety standards for crossing gate activation times and warning systems, and to engage in an outreach campaign with local businesses to better coordinate how and when they move equipment across railroad gates.”

This week’s incident occurred when the freight train was traveling southbound near the New Windsor town border and struck a rail maintenance vehicle that had gotten stuck on the tracks.

Schumer also said he would push for $25 million in grants to provide assistance to states, local government, and passenger and freight carriers to improve the safety of rail infrastructure, including grade crossings and tracks.

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