Amtrak police urge driver safety

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– On Monday December 29th, a new high speed rail service will carry passengers through north through the Pioneer Valley for the first time.

Some area residents told 22News they are looking forward to giving the service a try.

“Well I knew they were improving all the tracks going up through north, we have seen them come through Holyoke, the crossings and everything. I think it’s great. High speed up through here will be a great improvement for the economy,” Rick Constant, from South Hadley, said.

With the excitement of the faster pace transportation option comes a few added dangers. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 95 percent of train accident deaths are caused by drivers trying to beat an oncoming train.

Now, Amtrak police are campaigning for safety. This morning officers were on Wason Ave in Springfield stopping cars, handing out flyers, and reminding drivers it takes an average train about one mile to stop.

Amtrak police officers told 22News that with trains now coming through cities and towns at speeds upwards of 75 miles an hour it’s even more critical that drivers pay close attention to when those crossing signals are on and when the gates are down.

They also said cars should stop at least 15 feet away from the train tracks and that drivers should never partially pull out onto the tracks, rather only drive over them if you can clear the tracks completely.

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