Railroad News

Virginia Motorist Killed at Dangerous, Unguarded Norfolk Southern Crossing

(Troutville, Virginia – September 28, 2021)

A local woman succumbed to critical injuries she sustained after a horrific collision with a Norfolk Southern freight train near Troutville Park in Troutville, Virginia. The collision occurred just after 5:00 pm on Boone Drive. The victim, April Hartsook, had just left work when she was struck by the freight train, which was traveling approximately 40 mph.

The collision occurred at railroad-highway crossing that is not protected by any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. The crossing accommodates an average of 10 trains daily, at speeds up to 40 mph. The crossing is also categorized as private. Due to the private categorization, it is unclear if the train blew the horn in sufficient time to give warning to Ms. Hartsook. This location was also the site of a previous collision that injured one motorist.

It is virtually certain that if Norfolk Southern would have installed lights and gates, this collision could have been prevented. 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 collisions by as much as 96%.

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