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Operation Lifesaver: 17 In KY Died In Train Accidents In 2012

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 4/11/2013 4:41 pm

Last year more than 700 people died in train accidents according to the Federal Rail Administration (FRA).  We rode a train called Operation Lifesaver to learn about rail safety. 

230 accidents took place at railroad crossings in Kentucky, and 17 people died according to the FRA. 

A Lexington Firefighter aboard Operation Lifesaver says he works 2-3 car on train accidents a year.

"Without being gruesome, it's what you would imagine.  Obviously, it never turns out well.  The train's a large piece of machinery, no forgiveness for a human if it makes contact," said Joe Nugent, Lexington Fire Department.

Through a camera at the front of the train we watched rail crossings approaching, and people waiting as we passed. 

Operation Lifesaver says drivers should always expect a train at a crossing. 

KSP rode along to learn this firsthand.

"It gives us a viewpoint of what the engineers and conductors see every day out here on the rails, and how many close calls that they have at rail crossings, " said Trooper Brad Riley, KSP.

A freight train moving 55 MPH needs about a mile to stop, and a former engineer says he had an accident almost daily.

"At the moment of incident there's absolutely nothing the train crew can do, so the only thing I can do is preventative education," said Wayne Gentry, Kentucky Operation Lifesaver.

Gentry wants to get the word out, trains always have the right of way.

On our trip every car patiently waited for the train to cross.  Operation Lifesaver hopes every day is like that. 

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Horsewagled - 4/11/2013 5:16 PM
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Things a REAL railroad Operation Lifesaver (OL) group would ask!!! 1. Why are all OL directors handpuppets of the railroad or government only giving lip service safety messages? 2. Why nothing is ever mentioned by OL that would cost the railroads a penny on the obviously missing safety equipment and track maintenance work? 3. Where are the crossing safety signals for the trains going too fast with no brakes or steering at 1,000s of crossings? 4. Where are the track video monitors for the trains going too fast with no brakes or steering to get the train stopped IN TIME? 5. Why aren't railroads paying at least half for crossing signals because it's their trains going too fast with no brakes or steering while paying the so-called RR directors millions a year. 6. Why the crossing humps trapping big trucks aren't required to be removed? 7. Why the crossing surfaces aren't wider where if a vehicle fish tails on slick road and is trapped at the edge of the crossing surface trap? 8. Why the train cabs aren't required to be lit up like a Christmas tree with emergency vehicle light bars? LOOK AND SEE!! 9. Why the front of trains aren't required to have air bags or something to soften impacts? 10. Why trains don't have better braking systems? OLIs message now shows train brakes obviously suck. 11. Why there are no bidding invitations on the obviously overcharged crossing projects the tax-payers pay the railroads for. $10,000 just to get the equipment to the sight. TRUCKED IN. 12. Why trains are allowed to run in the fog? 13. Why the crossings aren't lit up so drivers can see the black rail cars across the tracks at night? 14. Why railroads remove and steal signals we paid for on closed re-worked crossings? 15. Why $$$millions$$$ of the rail safety budget we pay in is wasted on needless reworks at crossings preventing signals where needed? 16. Why the railroad isn't required to de-ice crossings before they roll the trains? 17. Why the railroad isn't require
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