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Subscribing Member
1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Those lights and gates are not there just for show. :x My condolences to this brother engineer-----he truly will have nightmares the rest of his life. :cry:

Subscribing Member
277 Posts
This seems to be a never ending game of seeing if you can make it over the tracks before the train comes. Sad, really sad. Hopefully someone will learn from this!

4,123 Posts
I have been to grade crossing school. Trains are serious, and the stuff you see on TV or at the movies is bull kaka.

This is a case of parental neglect: the parent should be brought-up on charges and the remaining children should be seized by DSS.

The engineer was powerless to avoid this collision: it takes at least 15 seconds to lock the brakes on a 100 car train. The engineer cannot 'swerve' the train: now he must live with the death of the child for the rest of his life. Intellectually he knows that he could do nothing to avoid the collision: but as a man, his heart will forever carry this burden. Thank you momma-dadda for failing to properly educate your welps.

When all is said and done: whether the tracks are rusty or not: ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN!

Subscribing Member
1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Beverly mayor to pursue longer gates at railroad crossings
By Jill Harmacinski
Staff writer

BEVERLY — The death Wednesday of a Manchester boy — killed by a commuter train — has prompted the city to look into installing longer gates at railroad crossings.

Mayor William Scanlon said yesterday he doesn't know how much the longer gates cost or where he'll find the money to install them at the city's 17 railroad crossings.

"But I don't think the cost is astronomical. I think this is something we could perhaps find a way to do," Scanlon said. "... I think it's a good idea and it will make it all the harder to get around those gates."

The mayor's comments came a day after David Siljeholm, 14, was killed in an accident at the Hale and West street crossing near West Beach in Beverly Farms as he was bicycling to school.

Siljeholm apparently ignored the closed gates and flashing red lights and rode his bike into the path of a commuter train Wednesday morning. The boy had sped ahead of his mother and younger sister, who were also on bikes.

The accident has raised the question of whether longer gates that block the entire crossing might have prevented the tragedy.

The railroad crossing at Hale and West streets has 15-foot-long gates that block a single lane of traffic in each direction when a train crosses. The longer gates would block the entire crossing in each direction, making it more difficult for a bicyclist to weave around the gates, as Siljeholm apparently did.

Peter Johnson, a Beverly resident who has studied railroad safety crossings, said the longer gates are the best way to prevent accidents.

Johnson is a founding member of Beverly Lobby Against Sounding Trainhorns, or BLAST, a group that opposes new federal regulations that would require train engineers to blow horns at all railroad crossings.

Train horns do not sound in most North Shore communities, including Beverly. BLAST believes that longer gates and better lighting, not horns, are the best ways to prevent accidents.

Johnson said he hopes Siljeholm's death will prompt officials to consider installing the longer gates and change the flashing red lights to solid red lights.

"As sad and tragic as this accident has been, we are also hoping it can be a catalyzing event," Johnson said.

Based on research he's done, Johnson said it would cost approximately $15,000 to install the extended gates at each crossing. At that price, it would cost $255,000 to replace the smaller gates at all 17 crossings in Beverly.

The longer gates are used in Delaware, Illinois and California, but are not widely used in Massachusetts, according to Johnson. Beverly would be the first community in Massachusetts to install the longer gates at all of its crossings, he said.

BLAST was formed several years ago when new federal regulations required train engineers to blow whistles at all railroad crossings. The group successfully fought the change, noting it would result in 2,040 whistle blasts per day in Beverly, and 745,000 per year.

The fatal accident remains under investigation by state police and the MBTA police, which have jurisdiction over railroad crossings. A detective yesterday said a computerized data retriever, similar to a black box on an airplane, was removed from the commuter train and is now being analyzed.

"That will allow us to evaluate the train's speed and other information," MBTA Detective Sgt. Joseph O'Connor said.

Investigators have already determined the gates and lights at the railroad crossing were functioning properly the morning when Siljeholm was struck by the commuter train.

"No mechanical problems were found," O'Connor said.

Subscribing Member
277 Posts
I don't know about any of you guys/gals, but when I hear a train horn I start looking for the crossing and slowing down. Add stop lights, longer gates, and you're still going to have idiots crossing with an oncoming train. Add a horn, it is just another deterrent. Use of the horn could be less of a liabilty with all the other safety devices.

4,123 Posts
Here in Palmer, a nexus of railroads, we too hear the music of the trains, 24/7, and it beats C5's taking off in Chicopee!

You can have gates as long as tomorrow: idiots and children will still go around them. One needs only to view the video filmed by a "train buff" at a grade crossing. The train sloooowwwwwly approached the crossing and people went around the gates, crossing the tracks. Female citizen sees that she has time and attempts to cross...she was 'picked-off' by the express train on the adjacent tracks that she couldn't see. She did an excellent "fender vault" off the engine...DEAD! :D And hilarious! Stupid cow.

I was breaking a kid in back in '79...he was driving the cruiser as we approached a grade crossing. The crossing was only controlled by the standard 'crossbuck' (it was a 'spur'). He stopped the cruiser and looked both ways before proceeding. I asked him "Al, why did you stop at the crossing?" He said "Sir, you only get hit by a train once."

I have always remembered this. Words to live by.

'nuff said.

Subscribing Member
1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·

State orders train horns to sound

State orders train horns to sound By Steve Landwehr
Staff writer

BEVERLY - When commuter trains began rolling through the West Beach neighborhood during Thursday night's rush hour, residents heard something most of them have rarely heard - blasting horns.

In the wake of Wednesday's fatal accident at the West and Hale streets rail crossing, the state ordered MBTA engineers to sound their horns at the intersection until further notice.

Paul Afonso, chairman of the Department of Telecommunications and Energy, said yesterday the order would be in place at least until the T completes its investigation of the accident.

"We did it out of an abundance of caution in light of the tragedy," Alfonso said.

A spokesman for the T said the agency would likely conclude its probe before the end of the month. But even if it takes longer, the horn-blowing won't last past Dec. 18, when state control of horn regulations passes to the federal government.

The state's order to sound horns at the West and Hale streets rail crossing is the latest development after the death of David Siljeholm, a 14-year-old from Manchester-by-the-Sea who was struck and killed by a train when he apparently rode his bike around the closed gates on his way to school.

Mayor William Scanlon has said the city will look into installing longer gates that might prevent someone from weaving around the shorter gates at Beverly's 17 railroad crossings.

But Scanlon said he is not in favor of train engineers blowing their horns at crossings. Engineers have not sounded their horns at most railroad crossings in Beverly for years. The only two exceptions are the intersections at Thistle and Boyle streets.

Scanlon said he will continue his effort to make all of Beverly a "quiet zone," an area where horns are blown only in an emergency.

Beverly has more rail crossings than any community in the state, and Scanlon said people would become immune to the warning whistles if they were sounded thousands of times a day.

"We're all for making it safer," Scanlon said, "but continual whistle-blowing won't help."

The state's order to lift the whistle ban at the crossing is rare, but has happened before.

Following a fatal accident at a crossing in North Andover in 2001, the DTE ordered whistles to be sounded there, and they continue to be sounded to this day.

In the past, train whistle regulations were left up to individual states, but several years ago Congress ordered the Federal Railroad Administration to take control. Congress also directed the FRA to require train whistles be sounded at every intersection in the country beginning Dec. 18.

But the legislation allowed exceptions in communities where whistles or horns haven't been sounded since at least 1996. If the intersections in those cities and towns are protected by gates and flashing lights and have a good safety record, they can be designated as quiet zones.

No one is sure how long whistles have been banned at the West and Hale streets crossing, but Brian Cristy, director of the Transportation Division at the DTE, said, "We know it's a significant amount of time."

Communities must file their intention to keep their silent status by the December deadline. After that, they have up to eight years to make any crossing improvements deemed necessary to maintain that silence.

Scanlon said the city is still on track for that filing.

Warren Flatau, an FRA spokesman, said the state order to reinstate whistles at the crossing would not affect the federal agency's decision to allow it to become a quiet zone.

Scanlon likened whistles blowing at every crossing in the city to requiring motorists to honk their horns at every intersection.

"It would just be a lot of noise, wouldn't it?"


Speaking as an engineer, blowing the horn is 100% nessecery. And I think you will find that same people that complain about the horns, also complain about police brutality and vote for Kerry. :roll:

Posted Sat 16 Oct, 2004 18:14:

After tragedy, neighbors fine with horns
By Sean Corcoran
Staff writer

BEVERLY - The train horns may occasionally wake them up, but several neighbors near a Beverly Farms railroad crossing say they are willing to put up with the noise if it helps avoid a second tragedy.

The state Department of Telecommunications and Energy ordered the MBTA this week to blow horns every time a train approaches the Beverly Farms railroad crossing where a 14-year-old boy was killed Wednesday morning.

Residents near the intersection of Hale and West streets said they would have fought such an order a week ago. But since David Siljeholm died, many people in the neighborhood have a different perspective.

"I want them blown after that tragedy," said Nancy O'Brien, who has lived at 860 Hale St. for more than 45 years. "They'll annoy us, but after that tragedy, I definitely want them blown. We'll get used to it."

Isabella Jackson of Beach Street said neighbors have long opposed the regular blowing of train whistles unless there was an emergency.

"Like everyone else, I'm asking the question if it was a freak accident or if the train horn could have prevented it," Jackson said. "At the moment, I feel it has to be left to the people who are responsible, like the MBTA."

But Hale Street resident Linda Wallace, whose house is barely 10 yards from the railroad tracks, said ordering the train whistles to blow every time the locomotive approaches the intersection is unfair to neighbors.

The boy's death was a tragedy, she said, but the gates were down and the lights were working.

"I jumped out of bed three times this morning when the train went by," Wallace said.

Other neighbors tried to look at the change in a more positive light.

"I think it's fine. I like the horns. It's kind of comforting," said Sharon Corcoran of Hale Street. The train passes right behind the home she shares with Katharine Whittier.

Whittier said the neighborhood has gone a long time with no train whistles and no accidents, but if they must blow, she'll be fine.

"It doesn't bother me one way or the other," Whittier said. "Of course, when I hear the whistle blow now I think of the boy that was killed, and that is an awful thing."

Posted Tue 19 Oct, 2004 20:47:

State May Ban Train Whistle Bans
Transportation Secretary To Meet With Safety Regulators

POSTED: 7:53 am EDT October 19, 2004

BOSTON -- State Transportation Secretary Daniel Grabauskas said he will meet with safety regulators this week to discuss lifting train whistle bans at some rail crossings throughout the MBTA system in the wake of the death last week of a teenager at a Beverly crossing.

Eighth-grader David Siljeholm of Manchester-by-the-Sea was struck by a commuter train on the morning of Oct. 12 at the crossing near the Beverly Farms station after he rode his bicycle around the closed crossing gate. The boy's mother and sister were riding their bikes a short distance behind him, and were not injured.

Officials said that when they could find no documents authorizing the local quiet zone, which bans the sounding of train whistles or horns, trains were ordered to begin blowing their whistles at the West Street crossing, where the youth was killed.

Tim Shevlin, executive director of the state Department of Telecommunications and Energy, said communities apply when they want to ban train whistles at road crossings. The bans are issued either by an order from the department, or through an act of the state Legislature.

There are 80 undocumented train whistle bans throughout the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority system.

Grabauskas said he will ask DTE, which oversees transportation safety, to analyze the undocumented bans on a case-by-case basis.

Grabauskas, chairman of the MBTA's board, declined to say if he favors lifting the whistle bans, but told The Boston Globe on Monday, "Every study ever conducted over time, and maybe even time immemorial, shows that train whistles save lives. There's no question about it."

At stake in the whistle debate is the delicate balance between suburban quiet and public safety.

At crossings where there is no ban, locomotive engineers are required to sound a train's whistle or horn 15 to 20 seconds before arriving, and no more than a quarter of a mile away.

State Rep. Mary E. Grant, D-Beverly, said she wants more information from state officials about the lifting of the whistle ban were Siljeholm was killed.

Mayor William J. Scanlon Jr. said lifting the whistle ban would result in an average of two horns blowing every minute of every day in Beverly, which has 17 crossings, the most of any community in the state. He said the whistles would become so commonplace that motorists and pedestrians would ignore them.

The Federal Railroad Administration has been reviewing local whistle bans nationwide because laws governing the use of whistles at road intersection will switch from state to federal control in January.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted Tue 19 Oct, 2004 20:48:

City lifts its train horn ban following rail-pedestrain fatal
By Ken Maguire, Associated Press, 10/19/2004 18:07


BOSTON (AP) Everett on Tuesday lifted its train horn ban and state regulators asked other communities to follow that city's lead before another fatal accident occurs at a rail crossing.

The whistle and horn bans, many of which are undocumented, have been in the spotlight since the death last week of a teenager at a Beverly crossing.

''We are asking those communities to take a fresh look at those bans in the interest of public safety,'' said Chris Goetcheus, a spokesman for the Romney administration's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. ''If they don't, the federal government likely will come January.''

The Federal Railroad Administration will assume oversight of safety regulations, including the use of whistles and horns, in January. Until then, the validity of bans likely will remain debatable. State transportation officials prefer the use of whistles, but the Legislature has passed laws giving cities and towns authority.

Everett Mayor David Ragucci, in a letter sent Tuesday to the Department of Telecommunications and Energy's Transportation Division, said safety comes first.

''After reviewing the crossing with your diagnostic team, we determined that safety at the crossing would be enhanced with train horns being used,'' wrote Ragucci, whose office phone went unanswered late Tuesday.

State Transportation Secretary Daniel Grabauskas met Tuesday with safety regulators to discuss lifting whistle bans at some rail crossings in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority system, but they issued no edicts.

''With regard to the bans that do exist, several of these were legislatively enacted,'' Goetcheus said, preventing the state from lifting them.

Regulators could, however, lift bans at 80 MBTA crossings in 20 communities because those bans are undocumented, he said. Instead, Goetcheus said, they've shared safety data with communities and asked them to reconsider.

Officials lifted a ban at the Beverly Farms crossing where David Siljeholm, 14, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, was struck by a commuter train on the morning of Oct. 12 after he rode his bicycle around the closed crossing gate.

Posted Thu 21 Oct, 2004 13:10:

....the yuppies come out in force.

Communities won't give up train whistle bans
By Steve Landwehr
Staff writer

Officials from Beverly to Ipswich say they're unlikely to lift long-standing train horn bans in their communities despite a plea this week from the Romney administration.

Horns have not sounded for generations at crossings in Beverly, Wenham, Hamilton, Ipswich and Manchester-by-the-Sea. But state transportation officials have urged cities and towns to lift the bans after 14-year-old David Siljeholm was struck and killed by a train in Beverly Farms last week.

A Federal Railroad Administration study found that intersections with horn bans had a risk of accidents 84 percent higher than those where horns sounded. But local officials said yesterday that horns will not make their crossings any safer and will only create a nuisance for residents near the tracks.

"We recognize there has been a horrible tragedy," Manchester Town Administrator Rosemary Cashman said. "But from my perspective one accident shouldn't require a sudden lifting of a ban that's been in place for decades."

Wenham Town Administrator Jeffrey Chelgren was adamant that the town will not voluntarily lift the ban.

He said selectmen are sensitive to horn-blasting because Enon Village, a large senior housing development, is a stone's throw from the Larch Row rail crossing.

In Hamilton, selectmen chairman William Bowler said he plans to bring up the whistle ban at Monday night's board meeting. But Bowler said Hamilton residents have a history of opposition to the horns and suspects they'll want the ban to continue.

Beverly Mayor William Scanlon has said he opposes blowing horns at every rail crossing because he doesn't believe they would improve safety. Bowler agrees.

"I don't think they'll make a difference," Bowler said.

Ipswich selectmen chairman Jim Foley said he will raise the topic at Monday's meeting, but he hasn't heard from any residents who think the town should lift its ban.

The state Department of Telecommunications and Energy controls train horn regulations. The DTE has ordered horns to sound at the Hale and West streets crossing where Siljeholm was killed after he apparently rode his bike around the closed gate.

The horn bans in most cities and towns along the MBTA commuter rail lines are so old the paperwork that created them cannot be found.

The bans could be lifted by town selectmen in Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich and Manchester-by-the-Sea. In Beverly, it was unclear yesterday whether Mayor Scanlon could lift the ban or if it would require a City Council vote.

Even if the bans were lifted, horns wouldn't be blowing for long. New federal regulations are scheduled to take effect early next year.

Representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration have indicated that communities with historic bans, such as those on the North Shore, will become quiet zones under the new law. Once a community is designated as a quiet zone, train engineers could only sound their horns in emergencies.
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