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Fairfield County ranks poorly in railway incidents, but Connecticut has gotten safer

A Metro-North train in Stamford, Connecticut.
Lil Keller
WSHU Public Radio
A Metro-North train in Stamford, Connecticut.

Nearly 700 people have been injured or killed in Fairfield County due to railway collisions since 2012.

Over the last decade, data from the Federal Rail Administration show the number of railway incidents — the federal agency identifies these as casualties — in Connecticut over the last decade are declining, but pedestrian collisions are on the rise.

“There has been a definite upswing over the past year, hardly a week or two goes by without another passenger fatality on the mainline at Metro-North,” said Jim Cameron, the founder of the Commuter Action Group.

Two fatal railway collisions happened on Metro-North lines earlier this month. A man was struck and killed by a train near Cos Cob Station in Greenwich on May 4, and a day later, another man was killed near Stamford station.

Now, a nonprofit group has launched a campaign to spread its message of railway safety. Kevin Burns, the Connecticut State Coordinator at Operation Lifesaver, said these deaths are avoidable.

“If people just stayed off the train tracks or obeyed the crossing signals, we wouldn’t have these events. These are preventable,” Burns said.

Operation Lifesaver will target Connecticut with three video advertisements that will air in mid-June. Burns said their goal with this campaign is to highlight rail safety for train passengers, pedestrians and drivers.

Railway casualties tracked by the Federal Rail Administration include passengers, contractors and trespassers on rail property without permission.

In May 2013, a Metro-North Railroad passenger train derailed between Fairfield Metro and Bridgeport stations. The derailed trains injured 65 among the 250 people on board both trains. Later that year, in December, a Metro-North train on the Hudson line derailed killing four passengers and injuring 61 of the 115 passengers on board.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.