Railroad Safety Task Forces Work for Crossing Upgrades

The Alliance Review 

March, 1999 

by: Susan Shea

Vicky Moore is right on track. But she says, about this time four years ago, that wasn't the case. On March 25, 1995, Moore's son, Ryan, along with two of the six other boys in the car with him, lost their lives as they crossed a track and were struck by a freight train.

Moore at first withdrew, and grieved the horrific grief of one caught by surprise of devastating loss.

Once able to work again, she returned to her job as director of the senior citizens center in Canal Fulton. She and her husband, Dennis, went about the long process of receiving compensation from the railroad for her son's death.

Since receiving the settlement, the couple have formed The Angels on Track Foundation. Moore now works to support this organization as her full-time job, because she wants to do it in memory of her son, and because it gives her a chance to save others.

The organization's purpose is to promote safety at railroad grade crossings throughout the state of Ohio.

Moore wants those from this side of the county, meaning Alliance and the surrounding area, to know that the Stark County Railroad Safety Task Forces, with interested individuals from the community who care about railroad safety, will meet again Wendesday at 7pm at the Stark County Regional Planning Commission, 201 3rd Street, NE in Canton. The task force is working with The Angels on Track Foundation to upgrade railroad crossings in Stark County.

"We don't have representation from many of the townships out near Alliance," she said. "Or many people who live out that way. We're always looking for input and for members who will work with us to get these rail crossings upgraded."

Moore said that the process of obtaining lights and gates is arduous and intricate, often resulting in a community knowing very well that a crossing is extremely dangerous, yet having officials in the community wait until a particular crossing may be high enough on a list of priorities to receive federal money to install the safety devices.

In the meantime, cars holding sons like Ryan, grandfathers, sisters and mothers cross the tracks. And some don't make it.

"I think now the driving force that keeps me going is anger," said Moore. "Knowing how the system works. Knowing that it sometimes takes two or three years before anything is done to improve a crossing. And worst, knowing that usually it takes a death for someone to see how dangerous a crossing it is."

Moore said that she feels railroads are not forced to accept their responsibility for public safety. She feels that people are constantly told that it's "their" fault when a car and train meet, but she wants to ensure that all necessary warning devices are in place and operational.

"Every time there's a death someone makes the excuse that it's the person who was hit who is at fault. It doesn't matter if it's a teen-ager, a middle-aged person, or an elderly person. No one ever says that the crossing should've been improved."

Those interested in finding out more may attend tomorrow evenings meeting, or any monthly meeting, held the second Wednesday of every month. Interested persons may also access a website for The Angels on Track Foundation at www.angelsontrack.org.


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