Long concerned about the safety of the town’s railroad crossings, Alex Bezanson planned to prioritize the issue when he became the chairman of the Abington Board of Selectmen last year. Just two weeks later, a teenager walking home was tragically struck and killed by a train at the Birch Street crossing.
After that incident, the town hired a transportation consulting firm to study the safety of railroad crossings along the Abington corridor. The findings were included in an April 25, 2023 letter to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The very next day, another fatal train incident occurred at the same intersection.
Recent Deadly Train Accidents in Abington
Abington railroad crossings have seen a total of six deaths in the past 25 years, but three of them have occurred in the last year alone. Most of the safety concerns revolve around “grade crossings,” where the road and train tracks intersect at the same level. Recent fatal train accidents in Abington include the following:
- In May 2022, a high school senior walking home with a friend along Birch Street was killed when she stepped into the path of the oncoming commuter train.
- In August 2022, a man intentionally went onto the tracks between the Birch Street and Plymouth Street crossings. He was hit and killed by a commuter train.
- In April 2023, a vehicle passed a car that was stopped at the railroad crossing at Birch Street, driving around a gate arm and onto the tracks. The vehicle collided with a commuter train and the driver was killed. A subsequent police investigation indicated that the crossing’s warning system was working properly.
Even if some of these incidents resulted from intentional or unintentional acts by the victims, Abington officials believe that the number of accidents in the area calls for safety improvements by the MBTA.
The town’s concern comes at a time of increased scrutiny for the MBTA. After an escalating pattern of safety incidents, a federal investigation of the MBTA rail transit system began in April of last year. In August, the T was ordered to fix dozens of problem areas from train maintenance to communication protocols.
Highlights from the 2023 Abington Safety Report
The consulting firm’s analysis of Abington’s railroad crossings revealed the following:
- Of the 751 railroad grade crossings in Massachusetts, Abington’s North Avenue and Birch Street crossings are in the top 20 most dangerous in the state.
- Before April’s fatal accident, 18 of the 30 crashes (60%) on the MBTA’s Kingston Line occurred in Abington. Twelve took place at or between the North Avenue and Birch Street crossings, which are around 200 yards apart.
- The rail crossings in Abington have nearly triple the number of incidents than any other town or section of the Kingston Line.
MBTA Train Accident Lawyers
Train accidents can have grave consequences, both physically and financially. If you’ve been hurt in a commuter rail crash or other MBTA accident, a knowledgeable local attorney can help you seek financial compensation for your injuries. At Altman & Altman LLP, we have been helping victims of helping people injured in MBTA crashes for over 50 years. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Boston MBTA accident attorney.