Accident report released in deadly Longmeadow train crash

Train was traveling at 57 MPH report states, speed limit is 80

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The plow train that struck a Longmeadow DPW plow truck was traveling well under the speed limit at the time of a deadly collision in March, a report from the railroad states.

Amtrak has filed its required accident report with the Federal Railroad Administration. Desiree French, a spokesperson for the FRA, told 22News that the report on the March 14 crash was due to their agency on Friday.

Longtime Longmeadow DPW worker Warren Cowles was killed when his truck was struck by the Amtrak plow train at the Birnie Road railroad crossing. The accident happened during a snowstorm, and Cowles was clearing the roadway.

The report states that the train was traveling at an estimated 57 miles per hour at the time of the crash. French said that the speed limit on that particular stretch of track is 80 miles per hour.

The Birnie Road crossing has stop signs and railroad crossing signs at either end, but no gate or flashing lights that activate when a train approaches.

French told 22News that the FRA is not conducting an investigation into the crash itself, however their regional manager helping the state with a review of the Birnie Road crossing.

This is not the first deadly accident that has taken place at this crossing. In 1982, 59 year-old Francis Desjarlais died following a crash at the Birnie Road crossing, while the year prior, 25 year-old Peggy Eyer and 25 year-old Debra Frank died when their car was struck by a train there.

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