Last year in Indiana, 59 people were hurt or killed in accidents that happened at railroad crossings on Indiana roads. This tally doesn’t include accidents or injuries from derailments or other kinds of train accidents involving either citizens or railroad workers.
It also doesn’t consider the explosive risks of the oil trains that are moving through our state now. For more on that danger see our earlier post, “Oil Train Crashes in Indiana and Illinois: Growing Oil Train Explosion Dangers.”
Police See Public Disregard for Railroad Train Dangers
Earlier this summer, there was a news story covering a field trip taken by police officers of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to better understand the risks and dangers of railroad crossing accidents in our part of the country.
The officers saw firsthand as people tried to speed over the tracks as the train approaches as well as kids walking too close to the moving train and other scary almost-accidents. You can read more about their experiences here (including watching a video of women who where run over by a train as they tried to cross a RR bridge).
More Train Traffic Coming to Indianapolis Area
It has been announced that there is going to be more train traffic here in Indiana — CSX Transportation together with the Louisville and Indiana Railroad Company are going to be spending millions of dollars here to upgrade the railroad tracks between Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky.
What does that mean for train traffic? It’s estimated that once that work is done, then we could see a 300% increase in the number of trains moving along that rail — think 15 trains zipping through that one rail in the Indianapolis area every day.
And they’ll be going faster. Sometimes they’ll be moving slowly, say at 15 MPH. But those big machines may also be moving through our area at speeds as high at 49 MPH.
So, more trains, faster trains. All the while it’s evident that many Hoosiers underestimate the dangers of railroad crossings and railroad tracks and the high risk of injury or death in train crashes.
According to the Federal Railroad Association, Indiana is second in the country for railroad crossing collisions (only Texas has more).
And this is true before this boost to train traffic here — so can we expect more people to be seriously hurt or killed in Indiana train crashes?
And what are lawmakers doing about this? We’ll discuss that in Thursday’s post.