Deadly Train Collision in Robertson County Raises Safety Concerns

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

A deadly train accident last week in Robertson County once again raises questions about rural railroad crossing safety. 44-year-old Reginald Thomas of Bryan was killed when investigators say he drove into the path of an oncoming train.

The Spur 231 and Old Hearne Road intersection does not have cross arms or signal lights, but there is a yield sign.

It might be rural. But it is certainly residential.

“My kids play out here every day and when we have the grandkids they're out here also,” said Robertson County resident Spencer Caldwell.

As a parent living in a home nestled roughly 50 yards away from a busy train track – Spencer Caldwell says safety is always on his mind. .

“There are probably trains that come through every 30-45 minutes,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell says he and his wife take the extra steps to keep their family safe; but he says what's more concerning knows there is nothing blocking the path of harm’s way.

“If a train were coming you probably wouldn't hear until they're about 20 yards away, or sometimes, right when they’re crossing the middle of the intersection,” said Caldwell. “Aside from the stop sign and Private Road sign, there is nothing standing in the way of those tracks.”

Due to the fact that there are only 300 vehicles that cross over Spur 231 and Old Hearne Road each day, TX-DOT officials classify this intersection as "passive"; which means there are no cross arms or blinking lights. But after Friday's fatality -- residents here say it hit too close to home.

“We’ve been living here 14 months and we haven’t seen a wreck like that before,” said Caldwell.

Days after the collision that killed 44-year-old Reginald Thomas; debris, broken glass, and even the manual to his 1993 Ford Pickup truck can be found in the grass at the intersection resident are now calling deadly.

“ A person's life is just as important as if you live in the big city; If it can save one person then I think they need to think about putting some crossing arms up,” said Caldwell.

Once TX-DOT receives the crash report -- an investigator will review the intersection to determine if any changes need to be made to the crossing.

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