(Storm Lake, Iowa – August 23, 2014)
Two individuals are lucky to be alive after the pickup truck they were in crossed paths with a Chicago Central & Pacific Railroad freight train Saturday afternoon at about 2:00 P.M. at the Barton Street crossing with CC&P tracks in Storm Lake, IA.
Dale Martin, 81, was driving and no identification of his passenger was available, but the crossing has no active protective devices such as flashing lights, bells or crossing gates, which are the only devices that can “warn” motorists of the possibility of oncoming trains, which cross there daily at a maximum speed of 30 mph. It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident could have been prevented. Both CC&P and Operation Lifesaver know 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%.
As if the heavy trackside summer foliage of trees, weeds and bushes did not create enough difficulty and danger for drivers attempting to negotiate the railroad crossing at Barton Street, the two lane street’s coming across the railroad track at an odd angle forms blind spots for motorists.