Drivers worry about train crossings in Bethel - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

ON YOUR SIDE

Drivers worry about train crossings in Bethel

Posted: Updated:
Drivers voiced concerns about railroad crossing signals in Bethel. (WFSB photo) Drivers voiced concerns about railroad crossing signals in Bethel. (WFSB photo)
BETHEL, CT (WFSB) -

People in Bethel said they've been pushing to get train warning signals fixed at two busy downtown intersections.

Monday, they said they were worried it fell too low on the state Department of Transportation's priority list.

Some told Eyewitness News that they've seen trains come at them as they're driving over the tracks. It's a problem they said has been happening for the past couple of months.

The warning signals that alert drivers to stop before the crossings have been malfunctioning. Although transportation officials said they were taking precautions to make sure drivers were safe, people in town said they weren't convinced.

"We want it fixed right away," said First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker.

Knickerbocker met with Eyewitness News just after cameras caught a train roll through.

Cars zipped across the busy intersection and Knickerbocker said those drivers may not see a train coming until it's already approaching the intersection.

"It scares people to see a monstrous train roll right up to the intersection," he said.

Transportation officials said conductors stop before passing through the crossing, but the moment before can be terrifying for drivers scrambling to get across.

Many drivers told Eyewitness News about their close calls.

"A couple of times I've noticed some cars as the gates were coming down that they're squeaking underneath it," said Rich Fisher of Bethel.

"It's a very, very busy intersection, and because of the tracks and the light after the tracks, everything backs up," said Don Bullock, also a Bethel resident.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority and DOT crews were working together to find a solution.

Erich Kunst from the DOT said there is no threat to the public.

"The railroad calls for the trains in the territory to stop at all crossings to ensure that the gates are down before they proceed through," he said. "If the gates are not down for one reason or another, a conductor gets off the train, conducts traffic, and protects the public and they proceed slowly."

Kunst could not say when the recently upgraded train signals would be working again.

"It's not due to the fault of the railroad," he explained. "It's because of the conditions out here, the heavy rain and snow."

Knickerbocker hoped this issue became an immediate priority for transportation officials. The MTA was highly criticized after two major derailments and a power outage in recent months.

The Metro-North recently released a 100-day plan to restore safety to the railroad, but confidence will take longer to restore, Knockerbocker said.

"I haven't seen that this is a part of the new 100 day plan," he said. "They're kind of worried about big things. But we think this is kind of a big thing for us, too."

The MTA said a temporary train schedule is in effect for the Danbury branch while the problem persists. It cut down on the number of trains that roll through Bethel's downtown area.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:26:58 GMT
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border

    Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:33 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:33:13 GMT
    The Ukrainian army has reported rebel attacks overnight throughout the restive east, claiming that at one border crossing the rebels were supported by artillery fire from the Russian side.
    The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east.
  • Israel hits 30 Gaza homes, kills senior militant

    Israel hits 30 Gaza homes, kills senior militant

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:23 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:23:21 GMT
    An Israeli defense official says the Security Cabinet is meeting to discuss international cease-fire efforts, but also the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza.
    Israeli aircraft struck 30 houses in the Gaza Strip early Friday, killing a leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group and two of his sons, while ground troops and Hamas gunmen fought intense battles in the north and...
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.