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    Train Safety: Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings

    By Melissa Torres,


    SHELBURNE FALLS, Mass. (WWLP) – A woman was killed in a train collision on Monday about a half-mile from the Bardwell’s Ferry Bridge in Shelburne Falls.

    Portion of Vinton Road in Holland closed Wednesday

    The crash occurred at around 5 a.m. on Monday when 45-year-old Jennifer Jarvis of Greenfield was hit by a Berkshire & Eastern Railroad freight train. And earlier this month another woman, 41-year-old Lynn Stanley , died in North Adams after being struck by a train.

    These incidents serve as a reminder to be vigilant near railroad crossings and train tracks. Injuries and deaths occur at rail crossings every day. In 2021, there were more than 1,600 collisions between vehicles and freight and commuter trains.

    Zane Lumelsky of Trains in the Valley told 22News that trains don’t have the same ability to swerve and stop as cars do if something is in the way, “They cannot swerve. They can’t change direction or try to like an automobile swerves to avoid something. It’s really up to the pedestrian or if it’s a car on the track to be very aware of where the train is and to exit that situation.”

    Freight trains typically weigh about 200 tons and it can take up to a mile or more, the length of 18 football fields, to stop. “You can’t outrun the train so if the train is coming to you in a certain direction, you should leave the track,” adds Lumelsky.

    The cause of this accident is still unknown, but train accidents happen more often than you might think. If there are no safety barriers, or safety lights or signals, you shouldn’t be crossing the railroad track at that point. You should only be crossing at designated areas. If lights are flashing or the gate is down at a railroad crossing, wait for the train to pass completely. Horns and Whistles typically sound at least 15 seconds before a train approaches a crossing.

    Trains have the right of way 100% of the time over pedestrians and vehicles So stay alert and refrain from texting, using headphones, or other distractions that would prevent you from hearing an approaching train.

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    22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts in March 1953. Watch the 22News digital edition on weekdays at 4 p.m.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WWLP.

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