Retired train engineer warns of danger after deadly Brevard Brightline collisions

In Melbourne, Florida, a series of fatal crashes at a railroad crossing has prompted the consideration of a new public safety campaign. The incidents involved drivers who were captured on surveillance footage crossing the tracks while Brightline trains passed through the intersection. To shed light on the experiences of train engineers involved in these tragedies, retired engineer John Zukoski reached out to News 6.

Zukoski, who worked as an engineer on a freight line and encountered 15 collisions with vehicles and pedestrians, emphasized the lasting impact such incidents have on train operators. The memories of these tragic events never fade away. “Crossing collisions affect a lot of people,” Zukoski remarked, recognizing the toll it takes on families, locomotive crews, engineers, and conductors.

In light of these incidents, Zukoski urged drivers to exercise greater vigilance when faced with flashing lights and lowered gates. He stressed the importance of staying clear of the tracks, as Brightline trains pass by in a matter of seconds. “It does not take that long,” he cautioned. Zukoski believes that these collisions highlight the need for increased community awareness regarding rail safety.

Mayor Alfrey has also proposed the installation of quad gates at the intersection where the crashes occurred, in addition to launching a public safety campaign. Quad gates, unlike regular gates, span both sides of the road at crossings where Brightline trains do not exceed 79 mph. Zukoski expressed his support for this idea, stating, “In my opinion, I think quad gates are a good idea.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has initiated an investigation into these crashes, seeking to uncover any underlying causes and potential safety improvements. As the investigations unfold, the community remains focused on finding solutions to prevent further tragedies at railroad crossings.

In conclusion, the recent fatal crashes at a railroad crossing in Melbourne, Florida have prompted a retired train engineer, John Zukoski, to advocate for a new public safety campaign. Zukoski’s perspective sheds light on the lasting impact these incidents have on train operators and the wider community. In addition to increased awareness, Mayor Alfrey has proposed the installation of quad gates at the intersection to enhance safety. The NTSB’s investigation aims to uncover the causes of these crashes and identify measures to prevent future incidents.

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