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Beyond the potential for tragedy, the collisions disrupt public transit.

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A car on the tracks can seriously damage trains, even causing a derailment, and also can damage tracks and nearby equipment. Even if the train is relatively unscathed, a grade-crossing collision will almost certainly cause major delays.


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Get the news you need to start your day. A spokesperson for Google, which along with its own maps app owns the navigation app Waze, told Politico that personnel were concerned that adding railroad-crossing alerts could overwhelm drivers with warnings, causing them to ignore critical notifications.

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The FRA is working with tech companies to find ways to use navigation systems to make drivers pay attention to crossings, an agency spokesperson said. The agency has grade crossings on Regional Rail and two suburban trolley lines. Each workday on Regional Rail alone, more than 5, trains cross roads used by automobiles. NJ Transit, which reported three collisions between automobiles and trains on its Atlantic City Line since — and 43 collisions resulting in 12 deaths during the same time period on tracks statewide — also is considering a dialogue with Waze, a spokesperson said.

Three died in those incidents. Amtrak reported two grade-crossing incidents to the FRA in Pennsylvania since , one fatal.

Danger on the Rail

None were reported in the same time period in New Jersey. FRA data show 6, grade crossings in Pennsylvania across all railroad services and 2, in New Jersey. When one thinks of dangers associated with early railways, one thinks of derailments and train crashes. Many of the people who came to see George Stephenson's first train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway in expected to see a disaster, and disasters were not long in coming: In William Huskisson, a Member of Parliament, died when struck by a passing train.

Nonetheless, for most passengers extortion and outright robbery proved more common dangers than train wrecks. According to Peter Kalla-Bishop,.

Why Trains Crash: Danger on the Line

In the mid-nintettenth century, the railway traveller — and men in particular — often had to cope with danger as well as discomfort. Trains were frequented by cardsharps, thimble-riggers [con men who play the shell game], pickpockets, robbers and murderers, whose fondness for dressing up as clergymen often gave the impression that the Church of England had ordered a mass exchange of incumbents. There have already been multiple tank car accidents that resulted in fires just this year.

Railway signals passed at danger. Situational and personal factors underlying stop signal abuse.

Earlier this month, a train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire about 50 miles east of Minot, North Dakota. No one was injured, but local residents were evacuated. In February in Mount Carbon, West Virginia, railroad officials conceded there was no way to put out the resulting fire after a derailment.

There, a train hauling crude oil in newer-model tanks derailed and exploded, displacing residents and threatening the local water supply. For safety, the railroad officials said, the best thing was to let the fires burn until the oil inside was depleted. The same thing occurred in Galena, Illinois, and in the rural village of Gogama, Ontario. Both incidents involved newer model tanks that were traveling at reasonable speeds.

Dangerous Occurrence – Signal Passed at Danger | Rail Engineer

Following a spate of recent accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board last month made a number of recommendations to improve the safety of rail tank cars that carry flammable liquids. Those recommendations include requiring tank cars to be equipped with strong thermal protection systems and devices that release pressure in fire conditions. The Federal Railroad Administration has now ruled new tank cars built after October 1 need to meet tougher, safer standards for carrying flammable material.


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Railroads will also be required to route trains carrying hazardous material on tracks that face additional inspections and are considered safer for oil tanker traffic. But even newer, supposedly sturdier tank cars now on the rails have been involved in accidents this year. Photos: Recent oil tanker accidents.

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