SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Tuesday’s crash between a Metro-North commuter train and an SUV was the deadliest accident in the rail service’s history and is a frightening reminder of just how risky the often daily act driving over train tracks can be.
“I would say it is scary! Getting hit by a train that is scary. I avoid it as much as possible. Just go by the rules when you see those lights flashing, stop,” Jim Delore, of West Springfield, told 22News.
Just one month ago Amtrak’s Vermonter high speed rail service added stops in both Northampton and Greenfield, with another stop soon to be added in Holyoke, increasing the number of fast moving trains coming through the Pioneer Valley daily.
Jason Auclaire, from Palmer, told 22News, “I think people should be a little bit more tentative with a high speed train but regular rules apply, you know, pay attention look both ways, stop before the tracks when necessary.”
Leading up the start of the high speed Amtrak service, 22News was there as Amtrak police campaigned for safety, urging to drivers to remember to stop their cars at least 15 feet away when checking for oncoming trains.
Amtrak police also say that even when you’re in a line of cars, you should never pull out partially onto train tracks you should only drive over them when you know you an clear those tracks completely.
Operation Lifesaver, Amtrak’s non-profit rail safety group, told 22News drivers need to always listen closely for oncoming trains, even if railroad crossing signal lights are not flashing. And be aware that snow can muffle the sound of an on-coming train.