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Woman Drives Onto Railroad Tracks, Mistaking it for a Street

Because of the slow train, a woman avoids collision on the tracks Monday evening.

A woman got stuck on the railroad tracks near Northborough center, thinking it was a street, during rush hour traffic on Monday.

At 4:45 p.m., Northborough police responded to a report of a car stuck on the tracks near the center. When they arrived, a Honda Civic sat facing south on the raidroad tracks on the south side of Route 20.

A 63-year-old female driver stood outside the car waiting for police. She explained that she had been traveling east on Route 20 and took a right turn onto the tracks, mistaking it for a street.

A CSX train, which was traveling north on the tracks, was stopped approximately 30 yards south of where the car was stuck, according to police.  The train was easily able to come to a stop, said Sgt. James Scesny, when the driver saw the car because since construction began in the center of town, the trains now travel slowly and comes to a stop before crossing Rte. 20. 

Railroad employees now get off the train with lanterns to ensure that the traffic on Route 20 is stopped, then signal for the train to cross.

McFee and Newton Towing quickly responded to the scene and winched the vehicle off of the tracks, said police. 

Traffic in the center of Northborough backed up on Route 20, stopped for safety during the winching and towing process. 

Officers said that neither drugs, alcohol, or issues with mental or cognitive abilities were an issue. 

"It appears to have been a simple misunderstanding," said Sgt. Scesny. "The driver was issued a verbal warning. 

Local Lifer December 11, 2012 at 02:44 PM
We were told by the town engineer that the newly reworked center of the downtown would make travel safer not improve the flow. I guess it has done it's job. But, wait until the project is completed and all the lights are working, that's when everything will run smooth, we hope.
Maggie Harling December 11, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Didn't the same thing happen before, a few years ago? Maybe signage need to be clearer...
BP December 11, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I have a couple stakes, a piece of rope, and a bright yellow piece of pipe to put on the area the vehicle entered if the poor railroad can't afford them. Even throw in a couple snap links so the railroad can get down the tracks. ...Easily stopped... Then the railroad state and Federal buds say "Faster trains are just as safe". Where do they find them and why do we have to pay them?

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