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