Fatal train accident in Longmeadow raises concern for railroad c - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Fatal train accident in Longmeadow raises concern for railroad crossing safety

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(Amtrak train at the scene) Western Mass News Photo (Amtrak train at the scene) Western Mass News Photo

Residents in Longmeadow are remembering the life of longtime DPW employee, Warren Cowels. 

The 59-year-old was killed on Tuesday when his work truck was hit by an Amtrak plow train. He worked for the DPW for 29 years.

His death brings up a lot of concerns for many. Some feel as though there should be added safety features at the crossing on Pondside and Bernie Road. 

"I walked down there a lot with my dog,  unless you have a real reason to be down there there's not a lot of traffic going back and forth I use caution when I'm walking down there," said Longmeadow resident Bill Smith. 

The accident happened around 4 o'clock on Tuesday during a snowstorm.

The Amtrak plow train was clearing snow when it collided with the DPW truck.

There is a stop sign at the location along with a railroad crossing sign. There are no traffic signals or gate arms that come down to block the tracks like many other intersections have. 

There have been previous fatal accidents at the site, and now some feel it's time to revisit the question.

"The time's probably come to put some lights there so it doesn't happen again. We're all sad about it," Smith continued. 

Western Mass News spoke with Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane about adding safety measures at that crossing.

"There are some lights there. I'm sure once the investigation is complete we will have some discussion about re-evaluating that with people who would be responsible for doing that," said Crane. 
In the meantime, Longmeadow police, State Police, and Amtrak Police are continuing their investigation to determine exactly what happened.

Amtrak said in Massachusetts the Department of Public Utilities has the responsibility and regulatory authority for railroad crossings.

The process of initiating added safety measures would begin with the local community.

Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.)

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