Horns Wouldn't Have Prevented Railroad Accidents, Regulators Say
McCoppin, Robert, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Six suburban and two Chicago railroad crossings have had at least three accidents in the past five years, regulators said Tuesday, which is enough to trigger a requirement that trains blow their horns at the crossings.
But regulators say train horns would not have prevented the accidents, so trains can continue to run through without horns.
All eight of the crossings - including ones in Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines and Winfield - were in places with a lot of train and automobile traffic.
Three are on Metra's Union Pacific-Northwest line, where officials say streets parallel to the tracks increase the risk at crossings.
One of those crossings, at Route 83 in Mount Prospect, prompted the statewide review by the Illinois Commerce Commission after a woman was killed there in July. It was the fifth collision there in five years.
The tragedy prompted the state to order trains to sound their horns at the crossing, until northbound left turns across the tracks, which led to some of the accidents, were banned at the crossing.
State law calls for blowing horns at all crossings, but an exception to the law allows quiet zones at crossings deemed safe without the horns.
When considering whether repeated accidents at a crossing should mandate horns blowing, the commerce commission does not count accidents involving pedestrians, cars that drive around gates and traffic that is backed up on the tracks. …