Residents think more could be done at railway crossing after man - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Residents think more could be done at railway crossing after man collides with train

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Man's car collides with train at rail intersection in Plainville (WFSB) Man's car collides with train at rail intersection in Plainville (WFSB)
The man's car crashed into a Pan Am train on Sunday night in Plainville The man's car crashed into a Pan Am train on Sunday night in Plainville
PLAINVILLE, CT (WFSB) -

A man driving down Broad Street in Plainville Sunday night collided with a passing train, and narrowly missed hitting the conductor on the tracks.

The incident has raised concerns about the intersection, where Pan Am Railways trains go through multiple times a week, sometimes late at night.

Larry Houle said his father, 86-year-old Rowland Houle, was on his way home at around 10 p.m. Sunday night when the accident happened.

Rowland Houle’s car hit the Pan Am train, which was carrying empty propane tanks.

There aren’t any flashing lights or arms at the train crossing, but there are several signs leading up to the intersection.

The man’s family said he is lucky to be alive, and they’re hoping more safety precautions can be put in place before this happens to anyone else.

"I can't believe there aren't any lights, at night it's probably hard to see the train,” Larry Houle said.

Last month, Pan Am said it increased travel through the area, as a result of increased demand for propane and local company needs.

The company added a "second shift,” so the trains have been traveling overnight, causing some residents in several towns to complain about the horn blowing in the middle of the night.

Now there are growing concerns about safety and whether more should be done at the crossing, where there aren’t any signals or arms.

"There should be some kind of red caution lights when a train is coming, even if there aren't gates. At least people will see a red light and take caution,” said Daryl Alatsatianos, of Plainville.

At the specific crossing, Pan Am said a conductor gets off the train in reflective gear, and notifies traffic a train is going by with a flashlight.

Once the train passes, the train employee hops back on the train.

Pan Am told Eyewitness News that on a yearly basis, the company discusses what crossings will be redone, based on what the state or individual town is interested in modifying.

The specific crossing has never been on the list. The Plainville town manager said there haven't been any problems there in the past and he hasn't received complaints.

He said after Sunday night’s incident, he’s going to look into whether more could be done, especially now that there is more night time train travel.

He thinks more lighting at the crossing might be needed.

Pan Am is now investigating the incident and safety is always their number one priority.

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