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Officials Urge Passage Of Rail Safety Bill At Deadly Westchester Crossing

State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, left, and Sen. David Carlucci at a Friday news conference at the Commerce Street railroad crossing in Valhalla, site of the deadliest Metro-North accident. They are with Alan Brody, far right, whose wife was killed.
State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, left, and Sen. David Carlucci at a Friday news conference at the Commerce Street railroad crossing in Valhalla, site of the deadliest Metro-North accident. They are with Alan Brody, far right, whose wife was killed. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Part of Friday's news conference at which Alan Brody of Edgemont spoke in support of state legislation to improve safety at railroad crossings. Brody's wife, Ellen, was killed on Feb. 3, 2015, when her Mercedes SUV was struck by a Metro-North train.
Part of Friday's news conference at which Alan Brody of Edgemont spoke in support of state legislation to improve safety at railroad crossings. Brody's wife, Ellen, was killed on Feb. 3, 2015, when her Mercedes SUV was struck by a Metro-North train. Video Credit: Daily Voice
Just around this bend is the site of the deadliest train crash in Metro-North history on Feb. 3, 2015. Commerce Street in Valhalla was lined by news reporters' and politicans' cars on Friday.
Just around this bend is the site of the deadliest train crash in Metro-North history on Feb. 3, 2015. Commerce Street in Valhalla was lined by news reporters' and politicans' cars on Friday. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- With Metro-North's deadliest crossing as their backup, two state legislators called on the Senate to pass a rail safety bill.

During a Frieday news conference on Commerce Street in Valhalla, Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Greenburgh/Mount Pleasantarlucci & Abinanti Call on Senate to Pass Rail-Grade Crossing Safety Bill

Their legislation (A.5235B/S.3458B) would require the State Department of Transportation to conduct a statewide study of level grade rail crossings.

A spokesman for Metro-North said it had no comment on the legislation which passed the Assembly in March.

The bill was introduced after a February 2015 Metro-North crash – the deadliest in the railroad’s history – where a commuter train collided with an SUV at a highway-railroad grade crossing at the Commerce Street crossing in Valhalla.

Alan Brody of Edgemont, husband of 49-year-old crash victim Ellen Brody -- who was driving the Mercedes SUV -- joined Carlucci and Abinanti at Friday's press conference. Brody pointed out that the distance between the gate that landed on his wife's back window, and the tracks that she ultimately tried to cross before colliding with the northbound train is exactly as long as a Model T Ford.

Also killed in the 6:30 p.m. collision on Feb. 3, 2015, were: Bedford Hills residents Eric Vandercar, 53, and Walter Liedtke, 69; New Castle residents Robert Dirks, 36, and Joseph Nadol, 42; and Aditya Tomar, 41, of Danbury, Conn.

Alan Brody said, “My family and I welcome the efforts of the Assemblyman Abinanti and Senator Carlucci as I am sure all the other victims do, too. But it still needs the active support and attention of the public. This could happen to you or your loved one too, and it will only change if you stay on top of it. Keep the pressure on."

“Following the tragedy in Valhalla last year, it became clear we need a comprehensive study to determine problem rail grade crossings and how we can prevent future collisions," said Carlucci, who represents parts of Westchester and Rockland counties.

Abinanti said, “Drivers shouldn’t be playing a game of chance whenever they approach a railroad crossing. We need the DOT to participate because we need to have a study from the driver’s point of view."

Last month, a Metro-North commuter train collided with an empty car at a rail crossing in Bedford Hills as reported here by Daily Voice.

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