Near crash has police urging caution at local railroad crossings

On June 5, there almost was an accident at the railroad crossing on at Locust Street in Moorestown and a video of the incident, taken by a local resident, surfaced on social media. While the vehicle made it across the train tracks without coming in contact with the oncoming train, an outpouring of questions came to light over the situation.

Moorestown Police Chief Lee Lieber said the most common issue along the railroad line is that the crossing lights continue to flash after a train passes. In this specific case, police did not receive a call from a motorist or resident, but a motorist called Conrail directly at approximately 6:45 p.m. that evening to report the warning lights were stuck on. A Conrail worker promptly responded, but was unable to repair warning lights and placed them out of service. Approximately two hours later the crossing incident occurred. This was after the train had gone by on its daily trip to Mt. Laurel and Hainesport.

Lieber said their policy is to have a message sent out that the crossing lights are inoperative. At the department’s request, Conrail is investigating why the crew of the train was not advised of this issue so that they could use appropriate protocol on their return through the crossing. These protocols include stopping the train and having a crew member dismount and physically stop traffic before the train proceeds through the crossing.

“The Police Department is very concerned about this incident,” Lieber said. “Conrail was contacted immediately after we were made aware of the incident. Norfolk-Southern Railway Police, who have investigative authority along the line, have been in continuing contact with us since then as they investigate the incident.”

Moorestown Police Chief Lee Lieber said residents should contact the police department immediately if they observe a problem with a crossing signal or any other issue involving the railroad.

“If there is a problem with a crossing signal, the police department should be immediately called so we can make direct contact with Conrail and ensure that somebody is promptly dispatched to rectify the problem,” Lieber said. “The caller is of course free to contact Conrail on their own after we are notified.”

Lieber offered a variety of safety tips from CSX Railroad. Motorists should always look out for warning signs and signals and should not cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing. Additionally, motorists should always assume a train is coming and look carefully in each direction before crossing the tracks. CSX also recommends that you make sure you cross the tracks only at designated crossings and never try to beat a train through a crossing.

Residents can contact the Moorestown Police Department at (856)234-8300 to report a crossing problem. Those who also wish to contact Conrail can do so by calling (800)-272-0911.