Children are our most important resource T hink S afety F irst N ot S peed F irst Bus Safety Program R/R Crossings & Date SAFETY Safety Training Presentation Railroad Grade Crossings Mustafa Abdullah Safety & Training Instructor Railroad / Highway Grade Crossing
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Railroad Grade Crossings
Mustafa Abdullah Safety & Training Instructor
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Fox River Grove, Chicago, IllinoisTime and Date: 7:10 a.m., Oct. 25, 1995Weather conditions: Clear.Event: School bus drives onto rail-highway grade crossing in front on an approaching commuter train.Injuries: Seven school bus passengers die, 24 bus passenger and bus driver injured. Accident report: National Transportation Safety Board Highway Accident Report 96/02
Description of collision: A school bus crossed the railroad tracks and stopped for a red traffic signal at the Fox River Grove railroad grade crossing. The rear of the bus extended about 3 feet into the path of the train. The train, a Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation (Metropolitan Rail) express commuter train, traveling at approximately 70 mph, struck the rear left side of the stopped Transportation Joint Agreement School District 47/155 school bus.
Probable Cause: The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the collision was that the bus driver had positioned the school bus so that it encroached upon the railroad tracks. Contributing factors included the failure of the 1) Illinois Department of Transportation to recognize the short queuing area on northbound Algonquin Road and to take corrective action, 2) the failure of the Illinois Department of Transportation to recognize the insufficient time of the green signalindication for vehicles on northbound Algonquin Road before the arrival of a train at the crossing, and 3) the failure of the Transportation Joint Agreement School District 47/155 to identify route hazards and to provide its drivers with alternative instructions for such situations. Also, the absence of a communications system that ensured understanding of the integration and working relationship of the railroad and highway signal systems.
After stopping the bus, fully open the service door (make sure the warning light master switch is off) and the driver’s side window, turn off all noisy equipment (radios, fans, etc.), instruct students to be quiet, and look and listen in both directions along the tracks for approaching trains.
For railroad crossings equipped with warning devices such as lights, bells, and /or gates, always obey the signals. Never ignore railroad crossing signals. If a police officer or flagman is present at the crossing, obey their directions, but be sure to make your own visual check.
If the bus stalls while crossing the tracks, EVACUATE the students IMMEDIATELY and move them to a safe distance away from the bus and in the direction of the on coming train if one is approaching.
Advanced Warning Sign: The round, black on yellow sign is placed ahead of a public railroad-highway crossing. The advanced warning sign tells you to slow down, look and listen for the train, and be prepared to stop at the tracks if a train is coming.
Pavement Markings: Pavement markings mean the same as the advanced warning sign. There may be a white stop line painted on the pavement before the tracks. The front of the bus must remain behind this line while stopped at the crossing.
Crossbuck Sign: This sign marks a passive crossing. It requires you to yield the right-of –way to the train. When the road crosses over more than one set of tracks, a sign below the crossbuck indicates the number of tracks.
Flashing Red Lights: At many active highway-rail grade crossings, the crossbuck sign has flashing red lights and bells. When the lights begin to flash, stop! A train is approaching. You are required to yield the right-of-way to the train. If there is more than one track, make sure all tracks are clear before proceeding.
Gates: Many active railroad-highway crossings have gates with flashing red lights and bells. Stop when the lights begin to flash and before the gate lowers across the road. Remain stopped until the gates go up and the lights have stopped flashing. Do not proceed until it is safe. If the gate stays down after the train passes, do not drive around the gate. Contact the office to report the problem and get further instructions.
Never drive your bus around downed R/R crossing gates. If you think the gates are malfunctioning, call the base. Do not attempt to go around the gates.
This type of crossing does not have any type of traffic control device. You must stop at these crossings and follow proper procedures. However, the decision to proceed rests entirely in your hands. Passive crossings require you to recognize the crossing, search for any train using the tracks and decide if there is sufficient clear space to cross safely. Passive crossings have yellow circular advance warning signs, pavement markings and cross bucks to assist you in recognizing a crossing
This type of crossing has a traffic control device installed at the crossing to regulate traffic. These active devices can include flashing red lights, flashing red lights with bells, or flashing red lights with bells and gates. If there is more than one track a sign with the number of tracks may also be present.
Treat all railroad crossings as operational, (exempt tracks should be approached with caution).
Always stop no closer than 15 feet from the first rail. Remember SLL&L (Stop, Look, Listen and Live).
Make sure you have containment space before crossing the tracks.
Always check for other trains.
If you start over a crossing and the lights start flashing and the gates start down, don't freeze; keep going. The warning signals allow enough time to drive over the crossing before the train arrives. No gate on the other side will block your lane. If you stop and try to back up, you may stall.
If your bus is boxed in or stalls on a track, get everyone out immediately and safely away from the car. Post a look out in each direction of the track, if a train is approaching try to flag a warning to it. If no train is in sight, have someone push the car clear or start it. No bus is worth a human life.
NEVER TRY TO BEAT A TRAIN ACROSS THE TRACKS