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After a century, has risk of railroad accidents decreased?

Connecticut residents who earn their livings on the railroad are always at risk for injury. Those who travel by train as passengers are as well. However, many railroad accidents involve nearby motorists, and revisiting a story of a tragedy that occurred 100 years ago begs the question whether workers, passengers or other travelers are any safer today than they were then.

Family members of fatal victims of a particular train collision recently gathered at the cemetery where their loved ones are buried to honor their memories. The incident occurred in 1917 but remains relevant today as many people still travel by train, work for railroad companies and drive cars in areas where active railroads exist. The relatives of the victims who came together by their graves say their ancestors were merely riding back home after a harvest festival when a locomotive smashed into their vehicle.

One thing that has definitely changed since then is that crossings are usually equipped with lights, bells or gates. At that time, there were signs on either side of the tracks that reportedly weren't visible at night. A man, his wife and three children who ranged in age from 13 to 25 died on impact when the crash occurred. Another child, age 16, was rushed to a nearby hospital; sadly, he did not survive his injuries either.

Road conditions may also have been a key factor in the train tragedy as it had been raining that night. Railroad accidents are still often caused by inclement weather conditions, but are also sometimes caused by human negligence. If a worker or traveler believes a railroad company's negligence caused injury or death in a Connecticut collision, an experienced personal injury attorney may be consulted to determine what options are available for seeking restitution.

Source:, "100-year-old tragedy still remembered", Caurie Putnam, Sept. 25, 2017

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