'Operation Clear Track' angers family of Warren Cowles - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM


'Operation Clear Track' angers family of Warren Cowles

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Tomorrow is the sixth month anniversary of Warren Cowles’s death.

Cowles was a Longmeadow DPW worker who was killed during a March snowstorm when his plow truck was struck by an Amtrak train.

In a couple of weeks, the town is partnering with Amtrak for an ‘unrelated’ safety initiative.

The town is working with Amtrak on this project called, ‘Operation Clear Track,’ meant to educate the public about trespassing, and not everyone is onboard.

The Longmeadow Police Department is partnering with Amtrak for the operation too.

“We’ll be down there raising awareness to trespassing laws and the importance of motor vehicles obeying the railroad crossing laws,” said Officer Carl Mazzaferro.

This angered Cindy Cowles, sister of Warren Cowles.

“I’m beyond angry. Tomorrow’s the 6-month anniversary. Amtrak killed my brother.”

Amtrak did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Since the day of Warren’s death, Cindy has been demanding safety equipment at the crossing, which currently has no permanent fixtures.

She told Western Mass News that she wishes the town would focus more on that and less on trespassing laws.

Cindy said she wants to know why both the town and Amtrak announced this event before updating her on the progress of the safety equipment installation progress.

The event has no relation to Warren’s death, according to the town of Longmeadow.

A town official told Western Mass News:

“MassDOT has included safety upgrades at the Birnie Road crossing in its FY2018 work plan, which is currently pending review and approval by the Federal Highway Administration and confirmation by Amtrak that the crossing is public.”

The estimated cost of the project is in excess of $820,000 and will require cooperation from Amtrak to implement once funding has been approved.

Cindy said that she knows the project is going to take a long time, but she hopes to hear more regularly from the town on progress.

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