A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Hope this doesn’t happen often

Written December 15th, 2015 by Hasso Hering

Last week, somebody went across the lowered gates at an Albany railroad crossing and lost his life, and people were shaking their heads why anyone would ignore all the warnings at grade crossings. And then I came across this today: Gates, flashing lights and bells being activated at the Main Street crossing without a train anywhere in sight.

Going north on Main, I had just crossed the tracks on my bike when the lights started flashing, the bells went off and the gates came down. Cars stopped, of course, as they should, on both sides of the crossing. I had not seen a train approaching from either direction, so I turned around to see what was going on.

Nothing was going on. The gates stayed down about a minute or two, then they went up again and traffic resumed its normal flow. I didn’t see any repair work going on nearby, and I don’t know what else might prompt automatic crossing protections to go into action without being triggered by an approaching train. I hope it doesn’t happen often enough for people to wonder whether it means anything when the gates are down or whether they can safely go around. (hh)

Everything back to normal after an unexplained activation of crossing gates at Main Street Tuesday afternoon.

Everything back to normal after an unexplained activation of crossing gates at Main Street Tuesday afternoon.

5 responses to “Hope this doesn’t happen often”

  1. Peggy Richner says:

    What about that 800 800 number? Is it legit?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Yes, it is, Peggy. The Genesee & Wyoming lists that emergency number for at least five other of its subsidiary railroads in addition to the Portland & Western. (hh)

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    I’ve seen the same thing many times over the years.

  3. Kari Kropf says:

    Even scarier, a couple years ago at the Scravel Hill/Jefferson intersection, a train was coming, but no lights or bells went off, and the arms remained upright. Don’t rely on those things.

  4. Annette says:

    I live right near the main line in Albany. There are people still walking the tracks and occasionally they hit the area that sets off the guards and lights.


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