(Warner Robins, GA – July 17, 2011)
The Georgia DOT hasn’t done it; the Norfolk Southern Railroad obviously won’t do it; so an 82-year-old retired US Postal Service worker has taken it upon himself to provide a higher degree of public safety at a dangerous, ungated Norfolk Southern crossing in Warner Robins, GA at Ignico Road.
Charlie English of Macon, GA puts on an orange safety vest and provides crossing flagman duties three days a week in lieu of promised, but undelivered, crossing gates at the crossing which has qualified as one of the state’s most dangerous highway/railway intersections through experiencing 16 accidents since 1975, five of them between 2005 and 2010.
English launched his personal vendetta against the lack of railroad and government responsibility in 1990, and not a single accident has been recorded on his watch. “If I can save one life in all those years, it will be well worth it,” says English, who worked for two railroads for a dozen years before joining the USPS.
The Ignico Road crossing is among 10 on a prioritized list of crossings identified in Georgia’s proposed plans for crossing safety improvement through addition of gates to its existing lights and bells. Meanwhile, GADOT Regional Communications Officer Kimberly Larson says the crossing is supposed to get gates “within the next 10 to 12 months.”