Train fatalities in Marshfield raise safety concerns - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Train fatalities in Marshfield raise safety concerns

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW) - There have been a number of train incidents in Marshfield within the past few months. State officials say this trend extends beyond central Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin railroad has dramatically changed in the past few years.

"There are a lot more train movements,” said Jeff Plale, the state's railroad commissioner. “A lot more cars the trains are more frequent, they're faster."

The state railroad commissioner blames that trend for the rise in people getting hurt.

"This year has been much more active than previous years as far as train/vehicle, train/pedestrian trespass that type of stuff," said Plale.

The trend has also shown in central Wisconsin.Two people have been hit by trains in Wood County just this week and the second in Marshfield within the past few months.

"The city is definitely concerned about train safety," said Steve Barg, the city's administrator.

The city is looking at ways to improve this, including new equipment at crossings.

"They call it a traffic clearing green,” said Rick Gramza, the Marshfield police chief. “So the southbound traffic at Chesnut, at Central and also at Maple avenue and Vine for that matter stays green for 30 to 45 seconds."

One question raised was the quiet zones in the city.

"Throughout the majority of the day, the horns don't sound,” said Barg. “They were fairly concerning to residents especially at night just waking people up and they were very loud."

The administrator and the city's mayor say those zones aren't changing. Local and state officials say their biggest goal right now raising awareness and hoping to put a stop to this trend.

"Don't pick a fight with the train, because if you try to mess with the train you're going to lose," said Plale.

The city administrator also says they will look at putting better markings on the pavement near train crossings.
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