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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

FRA meets public over grade crossings

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is holding a series of public meetings across the country, and the next will be in Raleigh, N.C. on September 27.

The FRA is billing it as “A new national effort to improve safety and save lives at private highway-rail grade crossings.”

The purpose is to gather information to help FRA better understand the safety issues at locations where non-public roadways cross over railroad tracks used by freight and passenger trains, the federal agency stated in a press release.

“Approximately 400 vehicle-train collisions and 30 to 40 fatalities occur at the nation’s 94,000 private crossings each year.”

Since private crossings are not subject to the same federal rail safety regulations that public crossings are, FRA is seeking comments on several topics, including how to define when a private crossing has a public purpose; how improvement and maintenance costs should be allocated; whether current warning devices for motorists are adequate; and if there should be a more uniform State or Federal approach to improving safety at private crossings.

Establishing responsibility for safety at private crossings is one of the primary goals of the USDOT’s Highway-Rail Grade Crossing and Trespass Prevention Action Plan issued in 2004. Increased focus on private crossings will complement FRA’s ongoing comprehensive program to improve safety at public crossings.

The public meeting will be held Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the McKimmon Center, North Carolina State Univ., 1101 Gorman St., Raleigh. The first meeting took place in Minnesota. Other meetings are scheduled in California and Louisiana later this year.

The FRA has also opened a public docket so that interested parties may submit written comments for public review and consideration. The public docket is available at http://dms.dot.gov (FRA-2005 – 23281).

The FRA topic can be found online at http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/1712.

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