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Safety Changes For Rail Company

Mar 7, 2005 | AP

The largest freight railroad in the Northeast has agreed to make changes to its safety measures at hundreds of street crossings in New York state.

Under a $1.5 million agreement announced this morning by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, CSX will change the way it monitors crossings and reports accidents.

The Florida-based company will also pay for a $500 pilot program that would reimburse local police for their costs in protecting railroad crossings where safety equipment is malfunctioning.

The agreement ends a year-long investigation that began when John and Jean O'Connor were killed by a CSX freight train as they drove through a rail crossing in suburban Rochester in February 2004.

Just last week, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department wrapped up its investigation of a similar incident where a Johnstown woman was killed.

In that case investigators said the conductor of a CSX train flipped a switch to override the safety gates while his train was stopped on the tracks.

A short time later a train coming in the opposite direction tried to activate the gates, but couldn't. Victoria Doyle, 38, was killed as she tried to drive across the tracks. So far no criminal charges have been filed.

CSX maintains 550 rail crossings with signals along nearly 1,300 miles of track statewide.

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