Fort Worth residents have been expressing concern about car accidents caused by drivers who try to “beat” the Trinity Railway Express through the rail crossings. Earlier this month, a crash happened when a pickup truck attempted to cross Carson Street in front of a Trinity Express train. Fortunately the driver escaped with injuries that were not considered life threatening. However, not all drivers are so lucky. Jjust this October, two people were killed in car collisions with trains there. Although no train passengers were injured as a result, the crashes resulted in major delays.
Trinity Railway Express officials cannot account for the increase in accidents, as nothing has changed about the way they run the train service. Each of the 38 crossings along the 35 miles of track has a crossing arm that should prevent drivers from crossing. At one crossing where a driver was killed, the Trinity Railway Express has five crossing arms due to the fact that roads approach the crossing at sharp angles. An extra crossing gate had been installed prior to the accident so that drivers could see the warnings of an oncoming train from any direction.
Part of the problem may be due to driver confusion, but some can be attributed to a “Russian roulette” mentality that has drivers thinking that they can outrace a train and survive. One long-time resident notes that for years, drivers and pedestrians have sought to beat the train, frequently with tragic results. He notes that if they waited, they would find that it does not take long for the train to pass. Every time a crossing arm lowers, it is accompanied by a red light, which has the same purpose as a traffic red light, to stop oncoming traffic. Observers noted that those who went around crossing arms to beat the train would have ignored the red light.