Car Struck by Train in Kingston, New York
You may have already heard that on Monday, Dec 5, a car was struck by a train in the City Of Kingston, New York. This is not as rare of an occurrence as one would hope. The question is how it happens and how can we prevent it.
The accident (Monday, 12/5/2022) occurred at the CSX crossing at Foxhall Avenue which apparently has been the scene of other cars vs train collisions. Fortunately today no one was seriously injured but we all know that circumstances could have been different.
Car Hit By Train in Kingston, New York
According to a post on social media from the City of Kingston Fire Department, they were dispatched around 9:25 AM to respond to a car that had been hit by a train. In the post, the City of Kingston Fire Department listed the cause of the accident as under investigation.
As you can imagine, many people felt the need to comment on the whats and the whys of how they thought this accident happened. None of the theories have been validated. The intersection was closed for about an hour. People familiar with this particular intersection also made comments on social media and a few blamed the crossing itself for causing accidents.
CSX Train Tracks in Ulster County, New York
As I sit writing this post I can actually hear trains that are using tracks on the same line that today's incident was on. The CSX tracks run from New Jersey all the way up to Selkirk, New York. For the most part, they follow the Hudson River but in West Park, they leave the Hudson River waterfront and turn inland as they head north through Ulster County in towns including Ulster Pack, Kingston, and Saugerties.
These tracks are the same tracks that we reported on last month when one train broke out causing school buses and morning traffic to be re-routed. This is also the same line that has been asked to not blow the train horns in residential areas.
All along the way, there are many crossings. Some are over a busy road and are well-marked others cross rural roads and those crossings can be deceiving for motorists. I myself have had a time or two when I was approaching the tracks just as the arms were coming down for an oncoming train. Once I even had to back up because I had gone too far when the arm came down and it actually landed on the hood of my car.
Train Crossing Safety for Motorists
I have no idea how today's accident happen but I can envision much like what happened to me possibly the motorist approached the crossing and then the arms came down and they weren't sure what to do because they got caught in between the gates.
If that happens to you always back up so you are sure you aren't out on the tracks. Going forward might be the option if the gate just closed but either way, you have to get off the tracks. Whatever you don't try to cross the tracks to beat the train. That is beyond dangerous it is stupid.
A freight train may take up to a mile or more — the length of 18 football fields — to stop and a light rail train may require about 600 feet — the length of two football fields. (via nhtsa.gov)
Seven Safety Tips for Train Crossings from the National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration (NHTSA)
- Stop, look both ways, and listen. Know that trains always have the right of way.
- Don’t stop on the tracks. Make sure you have room to get across. Once you enter the crossing, keep moving.
- Stop 15 feet away from flashing red lights, lowered gates, a signaling flagman or a stop sign.
- Never drive around a lowering gate or ignore signals.
- After a train passes, wait for gates to fully rise and for all lights to stop flashing before your cross.
- Never assume that there is only one train coming from a single direction.
- If your car stalls on a track, quickly get everyone out — even if you don’t see a train coming. Run away from the tracks and your car to avoid being hit by flying debris. Call the number on the blue emergency notification system sign. If the sign is not visible to you, call 911.