BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — After a series of deadly train accidents in West End, neighbors reached out to CBS 42 with safety concerns regarding the tracks.
Tanesha Germany’s fiancé Corey Jones was hit and killed on the tracks near her home back on June 26. Now, she worries about the rest of her neighbors.
“It’s too many lives that have been lost on this track,” Germany told CBS 42.
A week before her fiancé was killed, Kate Rodger’s grandfather was killed along the same tracks, just one crossing over on June 16.
“I just want to see something done even if it’s something small to make the community feel safer,” Rodgers said.
The railway is owned by Norfolk Southern, but both trains involved in the accidents were Amtrak trains.
CBS 42 obtained records of every train collision death from the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office over the past ten years. According to the data, in the past seven years, at least five people have been hit at killed at the 900 block 17th Street SW crossing in West End, including Rodger’s grandfather. These death records make it the deadliest crossing in the county.
Corey Jones was hit just one crossing over, and several others were struck and killed along the same railway over the years.
“Amtrak is most frequently involved because they’re traveling at very high rates of speed,” said District 5 City Councilman Darrell O’Quinn, who also heads the city’s transportation committee. O’Quinn told CBS 42 the city is aware of the number of fatalities, and they are working to make the crossings safer.
A representative with Amtrak said over the phone, Norfolk Southern owns the railway, and therefore is responsible for the safety measures along with other agencies like the Alabama Department of Transportation.
“We have partnered with Norfolk Southern to do equipment upgrades at those crossings,” said O’Quinn.
One of the devices they plan to install will help keep cars from driving around the gates. The city is also asking for support from the Federal Railway Administration. The FRA’s administrator visited Birmingham last month to meet with city and state leaders.
According to O’Quinn, more funding may be on the way for railway safety and they have had discussions about reducing speed limits for Amtrak trains in Birmingham.
We reached out to Norfolk Southern, the company said in an email, “Automated warning devices at crossings are the jurisdiction of the governing road authority. We come in once they decide they’d like to install such devices, which are traffic control devices, to assist with the design and planning.”