Railroad News

Pennsylvania Motorist Injured at Dangerous, Unguarded Norfolk Southern Crossing

(Lancaster County, Pennsylvania €“ February 16, 2017)

A 30-year-old motorist became the sixth person injured at a dangerous and unguarded Norfolk Southern railroad crossing at about 2:00 P.M., EST Thursday when his Mazda 3 was struck by a Norfolk Southern train.  According to reports, the train never sounded its horn as it approached the crossing of NS tracks and South Groffdale Road in rural Lancaster County, PA.

There are no railroad stop lights €“ just signs€ at the crossing where Mark Hutchens heard it (the NS train) at the last minute and tried to stop the car€ before the locomotive smashed into the front driver€™s side of his vehicle, according to news media reports.

Hutchens was treated at the scene by paramedics and did not require hospitalization. However, law enforcement officers responding to the accident told WPMT-TV, Fox 43 reporters Howard Sheppard and Kelley Waterfall that, even though there have now been nine train/motor vehicle collisions at the crossing where, according to Federal Railroad Administration reports, there are no active lights or gates, to give drivers warning of the approach of the pair of NS trains that pass over South Groffdale Road on an average day.  The trains traverse the crossing at a maximum allowable speed of 30 MPH.

It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with signals, such as lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both Norfolk Southern 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%.