Tech upgrades planned for Rochester, New York, rail crossings

After a federal inspection of the rail-grade crossing gates and signals along the railways of Rochester, New York, leaders have decided to integrate new technology into the area’s crossings.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) revealed the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) inspection results on Thursday. The inspection included all of the 81 rail-grade crossings located in the Rochester area.

One specific concern is that sometimes, rail gates drop even when a train is not coming, which conditions drivers to ignore the gates. This makes it more likely that there will be railway and vehicle accidents, as there were earlier this year, including a fatal accident at King Road Crossing that killed a man.

“The reports of malfunctioning crossing gates and signals throughout the Rochester area that came to light following this horrible accident were nothing short of striking,” Schumer said. “That is why I first called for the FRA to investigate all of the grade crossings in Monroe County, and I applaud them for doing just that. These grade crossings should be helping save lives, not conditioning people to put themselves and their passengers in grave danger. Today’s FRA findings are a step in the right direction, but we still need to do more to protect drivers from malfunctioning rail-grade crossings. That is why I am launching a new push to have the FRA review and implement new technologies that help railroad companies monitor the status of their warning systems and keep them functioning properly for the safety of drivers throughout Rochester. The FRA has already started a campaign to improve safety at grade crossings, and this effort fits into that perfectly.”

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U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer

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