Changes coming to Melbourne railroad crossings after 2 fatal Brightline crashes

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Two fatal train crashes in a span of just two days are prompting leaders with the City of Melbourne to implement additional safety measures at railroad crossings.


The crashes happened at the same crossing by WH Jackson Street near US-1 in Melbourne.

Three people were killed in the two recent collisions and both crashes are still under investigation.

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On Thursday, Melbourne city leaders and Brightline officials met behind closed doors to discuss overall railway safety at city hall.

While Brightline didn’t comment on the meeting, Mayor Paul Alfrey said it was a productive session that included Brightline “coming to the table with solutions.”

According to the Mayor, Brightline is using $45 million in grant money to improve safety throughout the railway corridor which currently runs from South Florida through Brevard and to Orlando.

The mayor said a big priority for those funds will be replacing flashing crossing arms with quad gates.

The crossing at WH Jackson Street, which was the site of both fatal crashes, is one of five crossing in the city of Melbourne that does not have quad gates.

According to the mayor, the city of Melbourne has the most railway crossings in Brevard with 21 in total throughout the city.

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“No longer is there a slow-moving train that you get 5 or 6 times a day. Now were getting trains 5 or 6 every hour. And they’re going both ways, so it’s definitely a change,” said Alfrey.

Melbourne police say the recent crashes are still under investigation, but surveillance video captured the vehicle in one of the crashes pass through flashing lights and crossing arms before it collided with the train.

According to the Mayor, the city is now upping their enforcement in response to the crashes.

The city will soon install red light cameras at crossings to ticket those that go around crossing arms.

He also added that the city and Brightline will double down on education campaigns.

Brightline directed us to this ongoing PSA and petition campaign that focuses on railway safety and making smart decisions at crossings.

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The mayor said the city will also consider distributing leaflets to help spread awareness.

“There’s the enforcement portion, there’s the education portion, and there’s also the upgrades. So, we’re definitely going to see some changes at these intersections,” said Alfrey.

City leaders will continue to discuss railroad safety at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Tuesday.

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