Railroad News

Victim’s Mother Wages One-Woman War against Crossing Gate Failure

(Chautauqua County, New York – August 12, 2011)

Still hurting from the death of her son at the infamous crossing of CSX Railroad tracks and Van Buren Road in northern Chautauqua County, NY in October, 2009, Robin Putnam- Cordovano has been waging her own public campaign against the far-from-properly-functioning crossing gates that supposedly “guard” the crossing from contact between the two modes of transportation that utilize it.

The occurrence of another fatal accident at the site earlier this year prompted her action to expose the lack of integrity the gates possess. The grieving mother has taped the malfunctioning crossing gates both trapping vehicles when no train is present, as well as trains traversing the crossing while the gates are still in an “up” position.

Her videos and vengeance have found sympathetic ears in both U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins, who sent a representative from his office to sit in on a meeting Putnam-Cordovano chaired earlier this week, and also evoked supportive editorial comment from John D’Agostino, publisher of The Observer newspaper in Dunkirk, NY.

In his “Publisher’s Notebook” column in Friday’s Observer Today, D’Agostino noted that Putnam-Cordovano’s “frustration continues to mount as nothing seems to be getting done to fix the problem. ‘Somebody else is going to get killed.’” D’Agostino chronicled the mother’s frustration with reporting the gate malfunctions to the 1-800 number CSX posts on its crossings to facilitate reports of problems, but, according to Putnam-Cordovano, “There’s no true satisfaction.”

The publisher concluded his comments regarding the crossing with “Since the accident in January that killed a Texas trucker, many would hope these rail problems would be rectified. Video, unfortunately, has proven otherwise.”