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The railroad crossing where a train carrying Republican lawmakers struck a trash truck Wednesday is equipped with two advance warning signs, two roadway gate arms, two mast-mounted flashing lights and a bell to warn of an approaching train.
Those details are included in a U.S. Department of Transportation Inventory Form dated Jan. 3 describing the warning system at the crossing near Crozet, Virginia.
According to the report, three freight trains pass through the intersection during the day and two at night, on average. The report says passenger trains don’t go through very often – an average of less than one per day.
The maximum speed for trains crossing the intersection is 60 miles per hour.
One accident report filed by CSX Transportation in 1999 said a train hit a vehicle that was stuck between the rails at the crossing. No injuries were reported, but there was damage to the train’s engine and the vehicle, which was driven by a 70-year-old woman who got out of her car before the train hit.
But man who lives near the railroad crossing said the crossing arms have not been working correctly.
Benny Layne said the truck landed on his property Wednesday after it collided with the Amtrak train near Crozet, Virginia.
Layne told The Associated Press that he has recently seen lines of cars stopped at the crossing, with the crossing arms lowered even though no train was approaching. He said motorists would get out of their cars to help guide other motorists around the malfunctioning arms so they could cross the tracks.
Layne says he has seen the arms stay down for hours. He also says he saw a man examining the crossing arms this week.
CSX Transportation owns the tracks where the crash occurred. Buckingham Branch Railroad leases the tracks and is responsible for maintenance, signaling and traffic dispatching on the line.
A spokeswoman for Buckingham said she was not aware of any problems with equipment at the crossing but referred questions to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash.
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