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Crew deactivated warning system before deadly train crash

According to a preliminary federal and state of Illinois investigation disclosed earlier this week, a track crew inadvertently turned off the train gates and warning lights at a Chicago-area rail crossing last week, shortly before a deadly crash where a Chicago woman in her SUV was blindsided by a train. The Canadian National Railway train crew was working on signals and electrical circuits built near the crossing when the workers shut down all warnings to motorists about approaching trains.

Federal and state investigators state that the video that was shot from the Amtrak train’s locomotive while it was almost traveling nearly 79 miles per hour shows that the gates, flashing lights, and bells at the crossing did not turn on. The Federal Railroad Administration is leading the deadly train crash investigation, helped by Canadian National, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Commerce Commission, and the National Transportation Safety Board. Officials stated that Canadian National crews had tried to fix the problem and thought they did, but they actually inadvertently deactivated the warning system, creating an unprotected crossing in the Chicagoland area that provided motorists no indication of oncoming trains.

Downloaded recordings do show that the train was sounding its horn and had working bells and flashing lights. Unfortunately, the crossing warning system did not work, which resulted in the wrongful death of a 26 year-old woman.

More information about the tragic deadly Chicago train crash is available here.