/4 Amtrak deaths reported in two days; company encourages rail safety

4 Amtrak deaths reported in two days; company encourages rail safety

At least four people have been killed by Amtrak trains in the past week, with one of the most recent incidents taking place Tuesday in New York. 

An Amtrak train traveling from Manhattan to Albany struck and killed a pedestrian Tuesday in rural Columbia County, according to Richard Mazzone, Troop K commander of the New York State Police. 

Police said the man, whom they did not identify by name, was found dead along the rail line. The official cause of death remains under investigation.

This wasn’t the only Amtrak-related fatality to occur this week.

On the other side of the country in Bellingham, Washington, a person with a bicycle was struck by a passing train Tuesday morning, Lt. Claudia Murphy of the Bellingham Police told USA TODAY. The man, whose name is not being released, ignored a train flagger attendant on-site as well as the railroad track arms coming down, police said.

There was also an Amtrak-related death in Bowie, Maryland, Monday night, according to Mark E. Brady, the chief public information officer for Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, as well as one in Massachusetts. Ryan Walsh, the public information officer for the Springfield Police Department, said an adult woman was pronounced dead after being hit by a train.

Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods pointed consumers to multiple resources for consumers to educate themselves about railroad safety.

“All individuals should exercise caution around railroad tracks and crossings,” Woods told USA TODAY in a statement. “Amtrak continues to work closely with Operation Lifesaver to communicate the dangers of grade crossings. Each year, about 2,000 people are killed or injured in grade crossing and trespassing incidents nationwide.”

Woods added: “It’s critical that the public fully understand the consequences of trespassing on railroad property, and failure to obey grade crossings signs and signals. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, a person or vehicle comes into contact with a train every three hours. Pedestrians and drivers often do not realize how dangerous it is to walk on or near railroad tracks, or how long it takes the average train to stop. It can take a mile or more for a fully loaded freight train to come to a full stop, making it difficult for railroad engineers to avoid collisions in emergency situations.”

Amtrak is working with local authorities on the Maryland and Massachusetts incidents and is cooperating with the investigation in New York. Woods did not provide additional details about the Washington incident as of Tuesday afternoon. 

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