An as-yet unidentified female motorist lost her life early Saturday morning shortly after 2:00 A.M., EDT, when her SUV collided with the rear portion of a moving CSX freight train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of CSX tracks and Memorial Drive in Springfield, MA.
Had the crossing been illuminated and equipped with operating flashing lights and crossing gates, which it was not, the collision doubtfully would ever have occurred. It is virtually certain that this collision would not have occurred if the crossing was equipped with active warning devices. Both CSX and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.
The victim was still alive, but suffering from life-threatening injuries, when firefighters extricated her from the wreckage of her vehicle. Tragically she died shortly after her arrival at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA.
Trains using the crossing are limited to a speed of 10 mph, but crossing visibility was the determining factor in the tragedy.
The CSX/Memorial Drive road/rail intersection had been the site of a non-injury accident in 1991.