Passive Train Crossings Common in Missouri

Monday’s fatal Amtrak train derailment near Mendon has shined a light on passive grade railroad crossings. Passive crossings feature no cross arms, warning lights, or bells to alert motorists of an oncoming train. Nearly half of all crossings in Missouri are passive crossings. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy says they’ve looked into dealing with such crossings.

Four people were killed Monday afternoon when an Amtrak train bound for Chicago struck a dump truck at the crossing. Prior to the accident, preliminary plans were being made to convert the crossing to an active one.

Homendy adds the conversion to an active crossing would have to be a collaborative effort.

In addition to a lack of warning systems, the crossing at Porche Prairie Avenue near Mendon also had a lack of sightlines for motorists due to overgrown brush near the tracks.