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Billy Cunningham
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Train crossing wreck in Creola Alabama

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Another train wreck at a crossing. On Thursday June 29, 2017, I was watching the news locally and learned a person has been killed at train crossing. According to the news a tow truck was hit by the train. Here is the site for the news station: http://wkrg.com/2017/06/29/breaking-truck-vs-train-crash-in-mobile-county/ In that cite is a photograph of sign warning against a low boy trailer trying to cross. That same sign was at the crossing in Biloxi where the tour bus was hit by a train killing 4 people and injuring a number of others. My firm is involved in that case.
I have not seen any further news giving any further details about the wreck. Why are these train tracks so high where the public is trying to cross? Was it part of the design? If so, why would a train company design such a high track? Did they just raise it as time went on while maintaining the track? Is a sign about no lowboy trailers sufficient to warn a driver? According to the videos and photographs from the news, there are no warning lights or a gate to stop vehicles when a train is approaching? Why not? How is a driver who is not pulling a lowboy to know whether his vehicle will make it over a hump?
I previously posted a blog that Alabama ranks among the top states in the nation in the number of railway incidents involving highway crossings. I found a website in Alabama for Alabama Operation Llfesaver http://www.alol.org/ . That organization has not posted any information since 2012. Here is what they reported regarding Alabama railroad crossing crashes involving motor vehicle with trains:
ALABAMA 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
CRASHES 60*     43       69      70       84    104    127    113     114
DEATHS 5*           5         8         4        10     15         11     16      10
INJURIES 33*     23       29       27       34   39        49     47      36
*apparently these were estimates as the report was issued before final tallies were in.
I wish these figures were different. I doubt they have improved since 2012. Sad. The railroads know their failures to warn and their track crossings are dangerous. Why don’t they do more to protect innocent lives?

3 Comments

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  1. Robert says:
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    Family and friends remember tow truck driver struck by train
    1360 0.011245 727813Y NS AL MOBILE CREOLA LISTER DAIRY RD 0 0 0 0 0 SS 6 1 49 YES 1 110
    Google map location 30.9138669997,-88.0346990004

    The Federal Railroad Administration shows someone from the state magically lost 780 crossing users in 1997 lowering the crossing on the signal priority list. But then the FRA is the railroads lap dog.

    Family and friends remember tow truck driver struck by train
    1360 0.011245 727813Y NS AL MOBILE CREOLA LISTER DAIRY RD 0 0 0 0 0 SS 6 1 49 YES 1 110
    30.9138669997,-88.0346990004

    1997—000890
    The Federal Railroad Administration’s LiDAR-Based Automated Grade Crossing Survey System

    These crossings are supposed to be pretty level both sides for 30 feet not Evel Knievel stunt jump ramps which has killed many even without trains.

  2. D says:
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    Are there enough/sufficient warnings; I think so, what I think is the driver made a decision to go back in the vehicle and attempt to move it while the train, with a blaring whistle blowing, barreled down on him. NO MATTER IF I’M going to get fired, I”M NOT GOING BACK IN A VEHICLE to try and save the vehicle from the locomotive, trains do not stop quickly and weigh way more than you, a low boy tow truck, a fire engine, etc. (and the train is accompanied by that that law of motion Newton told us about, stuff that’s mowing tends to continue to move, unless acted upon by another force. It stinks the man died, I’m sure the Norfolk operator did everything in his or her power but trains don’t stop quickly. What other warning could be posted, “Don’t park your vehicle on the RR tracks, especially slow moving low boy tow trucks”…”Caution, big, Heavy trains, hauling huge amounts of freight use these tracks, they may move at high speeds with little chance of stopping for people or objects on the tracks…DO YOU WNAT TO RACE MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF WEIGHT UNDER GREAT VELOCITY…DON”T DO IT”!!

  3. Robert says:
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    Google map location 30.9138669997,-88.0346990004

    Looking around the different year street views —This low boy sign on Old Hwy 43 isn’t at the crossing itself last year. It’s hard to tell on the new highway which is only 2011. So basically a trucker is negotiating 14 lanes of vehicle traffic and two lanes of train traffic in the rain.

    The low boy thing is from a NTSB investigation of a low boy collision and instead of the safety recommendation being to level out the beached whale crossings like a real NTSB would recommend it was to put in Mickey Mouse signs which are easily missed.

    I see all kinds of CATV and phone equipment there so a lap top there and one wherever the trains are dispatched— CAN YOU SEE ME NOW.