Railroad accidents often change lives forever

Many travelers choose trains as their preferred mode of transportation. Others make their livings on the railroad. Such work and travel often provides scenic beauty of pastoral Connecticut landscapes and surrounding countrysides and hills, but when railroad accidents occur, the devastation that results may linger in the minds of those who survive or were there to witness the scenes forever.

A woman in another state who was a freshman in high school some 50 years ago recently shared her recollections of a tragic day in her youth. Her father, a 37-year-old railroad worker at the time, was killed a horrific head-on train crash, leaving her and her siblings, the youngest of whom was a mere 11 months then, to be raised alone by their mother. The woman remembered how shocked and saddened she was after coming home from school that day to learn the news.

That accident was said to have been caused by a communication breakdown on the railroad. It seems there was only one working track that day, and somehow, two separate trains, heading toward each other, were both given permission to proceed on the track. Traveling approximately 40 miles per hour, the train operators suddenly realized they were heading straight for each other, but by then, there was little they could do to try to avoid a collision.

The young widow left with four children filed a wrongful death claim against the railroad on behalf of her deceased husband. As it turned out, two tower operators were fired from their positions regarding the fatal accident. Railroad accidents still occur in Connecticut and elsewhere today, and unlike jobs that provide workers’ compensation to injured employees, railroad workers are protected by Federal Employers’ Liability Act with the right to sue their employers for negligence, a process through which an experienced attorney can guide someone.

Source:, “50 years ago: Manhattan rail crash claimed the lives of Hudson Valley men“, Thomas C. Zambito, May 21, 2017

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