Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

KC Southern Railroad refuses to repair a deadly railroad crossing

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

In lightly populated communities, exceptionally deadly railroad crossings are not uncommon. Installing and properly maintaining lights and gates at a railroad crossing costs money and time. In sparsely populated regions, unguarded crossings are frequently left unguarded by the simple (and perhaps slightly backwards) logic that very little traffic does not sufficiently warrant the protective power of equipment. There are cases, for example, of towns desperately pleading with railroad companies to help them fund protective equipment at crossings which have proven deadly, and the railroad companies responding in turn with a rather impolite “no”. The frequency with which this occurs is alarming, given the nature of the request – a plead for public safety and for protecting lives.

The current situation in Audrain County, Missouri is slightly more offensive, however. County employees – from county commissioners to engineers – are worked up over a railroad crossing at Audrain County Road 443. A mounting list of problems, including unmaintained tracks, obstructions, and an eroding support system which county engineers suspect is rapidly deteriorating due to heavy rains. There is no doubt: eventually, this will result in an accident, be it a train/car collision or a devastating derailment.

And yet, in spite of the mounting problems, Kansas City Southern has not moved to fix the problems. Worse, they won’t let the county themselves maintain the tracks. They claim (rightfully) that it is their tracks and (rightfully) that it is their job to maintain it. We agree with KC Southern on this one. It is their responsibility. Why, then, has the county been complaining for 4 years with no progress? Is KC Southern waiting for a disaster? Are they attempting to see how close to a disaster they can get before they cave? Railroad companies such as KC Southern tend to blame railroad crossing accidents on the drivers playing chicken with death as they try to beat the train. If they are really so averse to flirting with disaster, it would be nice to see them lead by example.


Railroad News


Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James Perrin Lubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluen Harriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. Miller Mandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. Clark Austin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert Schuetze Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike Easley Arkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger Brown Jefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth Hardy Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8