Capital Metro to upgrade rail warning system at six crossings

Capital Metro Rail Operations staff recently completed an assessment of the handful of private crossings along the 32-mile MetroRail Red Line.

Today at the Capital Metro Operations & Planning Committee meeting, VP of Rail Operations Melvin Clark outlined the assessment and our recommendations. The good news is that all of the private crossings meet Capital Metro’s standards.

The better news is that the assessment gives us an opportunity to review and update our standards for private crossings. Melvin reported to the board committee our plans to standardize the private crossings and install flashing light warning signals, as well as pursue closure of several private crossings as part of its ongoing commitment to safety.

We will install flashing warning lights at six private crossings—one per year over the next six years. It costs an estimated $200,000 per crossing to install the lights. Although the Federal Railroad Administration does not require warning lights as private crossings, we’ve programmed these upgrades to enhance safety along the commuter line.

We are also standardizing the crossing surface of each private crossing along the Red Line to asphalt or concrete panels. Three private crossings in the assessment had a gravel (they call it ballast in the railroad industry) crossing surface, which requires more ongoing maintenance depending on the volume of motor vehicle traffic. One of the three private crossings has already been resurfaced with concrete panels, and the remaining two crossings will be resurfaced over the next two months.

Ultimately, it is still up to the driving public to obey public safety and traffic laws. Capital Metro has an ongoing rail safety education program to raise awareness of rail safety issues. This fall, Capital Metro will launch a rail safety campaign to reach rural communities along Capital Metro’s freight railroad. Learn more about rail safety.

3 thoughts on “Capital Metro to upgrade rail warning system at six crossings

  1. haha it is very much so up to the drivers to obey public safety. I have a picture on my phone from december 2011 of a crossing arm that some hit, snapped in half AND bent the remain part of the arm towards the tracks at MLK. I was on the train and it could not pass without causing dmg to the train. the engineer got out and tried to push the arm back but couldn’t, a supervisor came out and tried, no luck there either, finally APD came out and I think (did not see it myself) used his car to push it back into place. all in all it caused about 20-30 min of delay BUT he still got us to lakeline only about 10-15 min late, so bravo to him. I’ll have to share the picture on your twitter account next chance I have. fun memories

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