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Railroad safety in focus after tragic accident | News

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Railroad safety in focus after tragic accident


A Harriman woman is looking to make a difference in light of a tragic accident in her hometown.

Friday night, a car was struck by a train. Four young people were in the car at the time. Two died, and two are in the hospital. Members of that community are now raising concerns about safety and what they can do to improve it near those tracks.

Tasha Clayborne is a stay-at-home mother of three.

"I was not expecting... I was looking for a small little thing for the community and it went a lot quicker and faster than I thought," said Clayborne.

After hearing about two young lives lost in her community, she wanted to show her support.

"The community always likes to have something. Like an honor page, and I felt like helping with the safety issue would help the community out," said Clayborne.

So she created a Facebook page. It rallied up support from people who want to stop accidents like Friday's.

Their first request is adding crossing arms and lights to every railroad intersection.

There are a couple of factors that need to be met before the crossing arms or lights can be installed. TDOT checks for the average daily traffic in the area, the number of trains that pass, the speed of these trains, and also a crash history.

Across the road, Betty Magill heard the accident.

"A lot of police cars were sitting there. And we went outside to watch to see what was going on," said Magill.

Now there is a memorial sitting where the crash happened, honoring the lives lost.

Magill thinks some changes to safety could have helped.

"Truly the lights would help," said Magill.

Clayborne's page keeps growing, bringing in more than 1,300 likes since Friday.

"I hope we raise enough awareness to where we will get crossbars down there. We will get crossbars in a lot of other places too., maybe later on down the road. It would be nice to see a lot more safety issues taken care of," said Clayborne.

Whenever TDOT has to install a crossing project, funding comes out of a program called the "Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing Program." Each year, they receive around $4.6 million for these kinds of improvements. Each project ranges from $180,000 to $280,000.


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