2016-02-03 / Front Page

Call For New Signs At Maspeth Train Crash Site

By Liz Goff
The operator of a freight train that collided with a tractor-trailer in Maspeth in July 2015 will not face charges, after an investigation blamed a lack of proper signage for the fiery crash.

The 42-year-old truck driver suffered minor injuries when his truck burst into flames after it was struck by the freight train at a railroad crossing near Maspeth Avenue and Rust Street. The driver was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center for treatment of injuries he suffered in the crash. He was released several days later, authorities said.

The train engineer and conductor were not injured and refused medical attention, police said.

Investigators determined the absence of a stop sign at the approach to the crossing failed to give the engineer time to slow down the fast-moving train. The engineer was, therefore. unable to shut the gates in time to prevent the accident, investigators said.

Police sources said video surveillance showed the gate on the railroad crossing did not shut down until after the impact. Investigators determined the train pushed the truck more than 200-feet along the tracks before it came to a stop, police sources said.

Local activists and neighbors blasted city, state and federal agencies for allowing trains hauling trash to travel through the mixed residential neighborhood.

Neighbors said they have been complaining for years about the trains that spew “revolting fumes, dust and other particles” into the air near their homes as they speed along the train tracks.

“It’s not bad enough that these garbage trains spill dirt and dust, and who knows shat, into our environment,” a nearby resident fumed. “What would happen if one of these things really exploded and shot flames and toxic material into our neighborhood and our homes?” the man said.

The report calls for the installation of new Stop signs at the railroad crossing that would alert e4ngineers to slow down and stop at th4 site.

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