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December 19, 2013  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

Crash averted when school bus stalls on train tracks

By Thomas McMahon


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NORWALK, Conn. — Quick actions helped avert a tragedy on Wednesday when a school bus got stuck on railroad tracks.

According to Norwalk police, the bus had recently picked up students at an elementary school when it reached the railroad tracks, where the driver stopped and looked both ways before entering the crossing.

The school bus driver told police that when he drove forward, the bus experienced a mechanical malfunction, leaving it stranded across the tracks.

Then, the railroad crossing arms lowered as a Metro-North commuter train approached the crossing. Police said that the bus driver began an emergency evacuation, leading the 40 elementary students to a safe zone nearby.

The train operator was able to stop the train about 10 feet before the bus, avoiding a collision.

At some point during the incident, two students received what police said were believed to be minor injuries. They were treated at the scene by EMS and were then transported to a hospital for further evaluation.

Replacement buses were called to the scene to transport the remaining students along the normal route home. Several parents responded to the scene and picked up their children.

“Once everything was deemed safe, personnel entered the bus and were able to remove the bus from [the] railroad crossing,” Norwalk police said in a statement. “Once the tracks were cleared, the train was released and continued southbound on its normal route.”

The bus is operated by First Student, which provides transportation service for Norwalk Public Schools.

Authorities praised the school bus driver and the train crew for their response to the precarious situation.

“The officer on the scene commends the bus driver and the train crew for their excellent work in evacuating the students, stopping the train and caring for the students in a safe zone nearby,” Norwalk police said.


Other recent news related to railroad crossing incidents:

Victims of deadly 1938 bus-train crash remembered


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Read more about: Connecticut, driver training, evacuation drills, railroad crossing


Any word or further details about the 'mechanical malfunction' that caused the bus to be disabled smack within the level railway crossing? What would the cirrcumstances have been if it was a heavily loaded freight train that could not stop in-time? The bus companies are so reluctant to pass details on serious defect recall notices onto the lowly drivers operating the buses. Wabco-Meritor and Navistar/International were all aware of a serious parking brake defect on the recent IC buses. The government forced a recall over it. At times it could lock-up the rear axle unexpectantly. That happened to me in an ICbus once in a school driveway. I was about to leave with a full load of students. No prior warning, just a serious hic-up that could just have as easily occured within a railway crossing. More honesty from the boys who build these buses would be appreciated by the shmucks obliged to drive them.

BeeBopEh    |    Dec 19, 2013 02:31 PM

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