Man VS Train
It's history in a way you've never read before.

Warning: This post contains material that may be offensive to some.
Contains graphic material.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

life lessons learned from the Lucin Cut-off

I'm compiling the chapter in my book "Death At The Station".
There are many things we can learn from this Railroad trestle.

1. Nothing is impossible.  If you have the heart and the drive and a plan. Stick with it and the people who told you "It can't be done" or "You can't do that" "You'll never succeed." Prove them wrong. Just like the Lucin-Cut off  IT CAN BE DONE. You can do it.
     There were many people who said the Cut off would not work.   A trestle at that length built on sandy, salty, unstable base not to mention the 10-foot waves that would crash into it during a storm. It will never work.  It will be cost prohibitive, the amount of money put into building the trestle will never be recouped.
      They were all wrong. The cost ended up to be over eight million dollars, but In January, 1904 the Southern Pacific was at full bore and saved $61,000 in operating costs compared to the same month in 1903.  The cut-off would pay for itself in eight years.

2. Storms can be weathered. A storm in life may tear you apart, break you to pieces, but those pieces can be put back together and you'll be stronger.  So strong that a freight train can zoom across  and make it to the other side.

The storms out on the Great Salt Lake are wicked.  Waves can reach up to 10 ft, it can take a small boat and swallow it up.  Bigger boats were dashed into the tressle damaging both

3. Sometimes we need to let them go.   We've all had people in our lives that we give and give and give to, they are never satisfied.  These are the negative people that can suck you dry and make your foundation unstable.  These are the people we need to let go of in our lives.

Rambo was suppose to be a telegraph station along the Lucin cut off.   There was a sink hole so voracious rocks and fill were dumped into it 24-7.   70,000 Railroad car loads of rocks and dirt were poured into this one spot in the Great Salt Lake.   They were trying to build a   but the bottom of the lake was just too unstable.

4. Sometimes it just isn't the right time for our dreams to come true.  We have our goal and our plan of how to achieve that goal, but then things get in the way.  An illnes,


We are so close to publishing Death At The Station.  We are formatting it as we type.
For a Sneak Peek Here is one of the people who died at Union Station.
If you are planning to attend the Night At The Museum this year you might want a few names to ask those ghosts about.

This girl's name wasn't printed in the paper unfortunately

A sixteen-year-old girl died en route.

Ogden Herald 1881-05-06 P.4
Yesterday a young lady arrived in town, accompanied by her sister, and with the grim of angel death hovering over her footsteps.  She had lately left her home in Schleswig Holstein,[Germany] Europe, to go to friends in California where she hoped to restore her broken health.  But fate was against her and she was destined not to leave this valley.
In a sadly desponding condition, she was taken to the Keeney House where she was given kind attendance, Dr. A.S. Condon was called to her bedside, but in vain.  At about 4 o’clock this morning she breathed her last, “a stranger in a strange land,” A gentleman who had been traveling with the deceased and her sister showed a Samaritan’s charity to the distressed, providing for their comfort, not shirking any expense. The deceased was a handsome girl of about sixteen years, her sister being her elder by three years.  Neither of them could talk English.  At 1 p.m. today, the funeral was to take place.

No other information was found.

One of the ghost children that plays upstairs maybe Samuel Faddies age 6 years old. Playing around the tracks he was run over by an engine and CUT IN HALF.

Samuel Faddies

Ogden Daily Junction 1880-04-21
Yesterday afternoon, about four o’clock, occurred one of those horrible and blood-curdling casualties, which, though fortunately but of rare occurrence in this locality, when happening always cause a thrill or horror to those who witness or even hear of such a catastrophe.
The unfortunate victim who was aged six years, was a son of Mr. [Robert] Faddies, formerly of the C.P. transfer service, but at the present engaged at Coalville.
From the account given of the affair by several of the boys who were transferring rails from the U.P. to the C.P. train in the vicinity of the accident, near First Street [Twenty-first street], we learn that several children came running to them and stated that a little boy had been run over and cut to pieces by the yard engine.
The boys immediately repaired to the scene, and a fearful sight presented itself.  The body of the poor child was discovered on the track, literally cut in two.
The transfer boys gathered up the remains, and placing them on a board, took them to the residence of Mr. Faddies.
There are several stories in relation to the accident.  Some assert that the little fellow attempted to climb on the step in the rear of the tender, the engine being in rapid motion, and others that he was simply crossing the track, and the engine ran over him before he had time to get off the track.
In conversation with an intimate friend of the bereaved family, today the gentleman was included to this latter theory, as he thought it impossible for a child so young as deceased to attempt to climb upon the engine.
One of the gentlemen who assisted in carrying the remains over to the parents’ residence, asserts however the poor child did attempt to climb on the engine (probably in imitation of the yard-men, whom he had seen perform this feat number of times.)
The mother of the poor child, who lives in a small house on one side of the track was the first on the scene of the accident, and when she gave one glance at the body of her little one so cruelly mangled, she became perfectly distracted with grief and horror, and could not bear to gaze upon the fearful sight of the mangled infant, and it was not until the arrival of the gentlemen previously named that the body was removed.
No blame can be attached to the train men, who always seem to be on the alert, and though always vigilant cannot be expected to be watching every point at one and the same time.  The funeral, which took place to[day was largely attended by the friends of the family. Previous to the funeral an inquest was held, and a verdict rendered in accordance with the evidence adduced.
Following is the verdict of the coroner’s jury…
Ogden City, June 13, 1880
We, the jurors whose names are here unto signed, being summoned to enquire into the death of Samuel Faddies, aged six years, on the 15th of July 1880, son of Robert and Elizabeth Faddies, do testify from the evidence given, that the said Samuel Faddies came to his death by the C.P.R.R. switch engine running over his body.

Friday, March 15, 2019


    Photo courtesy of the Historic Union Station in Ogden, Utah

Introduction to


Ogden's Utah's Union Station

Compiled by Robin Westover

     One of my hobbies, and at times profession, is ghost hunting. All though we prefer to be called paranormal investigators. Where I’m from hunting usually involves a shotgun, mountains, a truck and bringing something home.

    In the field of paranormal investigation, we prefer NOT to bring anything home. 
Somethings the two have in common are sitting around and waiting, and sometimes you get something, sometimes you don’t. 

     Ogden Utah’s Historic Union Station is a favorite for investigators. 90% of the time something paranormal happens, hair is pulled, people are pushed, we hear children giggling,  men walk the halls and there are strange reflections in windows. Some even say a young woman comes to dance with men and then swears at them when the dance is over. Those stories will be in another At The Station publication.
   Unfortunately, spirits do not introduce themselves. That is where I come in. My job in the paranormal field is Para-historian. I research a specific place or area to find those people that have perished in one way or another. Then we try to match them up with the spirits we encounter.
   After finding over one-hundred fifty deaths in or around the area, including those brought to the station already deceased, Union Station’s business manager Tracy Ehrig suggested we publish the findings. That is what this book is about and why I published it.
      But this book serves other purposes as well. One hundred and fifty years of history have taken place on that plot of land. From the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 to the era of the Amtrak, to present-day Front-runner.

       This book can also be used for family history purposes. You may find the story of the death of a family member, names are listed in the contents.

 All of these incidents are true.
 Whatever the reason you are reading this book, I hope you enjoy

Death At The Station.

Available on Amazon Sept. 30, 2019

    If you are interested in having your own paranormal experience, Union Station hosts Night At The Museum every October. Where you become the ghost hunter. Only once a year are you able to go into the basements and other places not usually open to the public and who knows, you may see me there.  For more information go to 

  If you experience something while there, please share it with me. It may be included in the next book Ghosts At The Station. A book of true ghost stories from Ogden Utah's Historic Union Station.

Thank you
Robin Westover

Friday, September 11, 2015

Death At The Station Hell On Wheels

This is a draft introduction.  
It still has a few rough spots.  I'd be happy to hear your opinion.
leave a message below or email us at robin.b.westover@gmail.com 

      There were thousands of deaths along the Transcontinental Railroad route in the Mountain West.
The first deaths pertaining to the railroad in Utah were on October 6, 1853.
Paiute Indians attacked U.S. Army Captain John W. Gunnison and his party of 37 soldiers and railroad surveyors, near Sevier Lake, Utah.  Gunnison and seven other men were killed.

     Between 1865 and 1869 The Union Pacific’s crew consisted of. 200 or so ex-convicts and men trying to avoid capture by legal authorities.   At least two-thirds of the crews were "Galvanized Yanks" from the South, Union veterans from the prairie states, Swedes, Danes and Finlanders recruited in Chicago, plus 300 to 1,000 Negroes who chose mulewhacker and shovel jobs on Union Pacific.

     They were laying tracks, blasting through mountains, and grading the land along the surveyed route from Omaha through Wyoming and Utah territories.  Destination. . . Promontory Summit in Utah territory.  These men worked hard and played even harder.

     As the railroad marched rapidly across the broad Continent of plain and mountain, there was a rough, Improvised and temporary town at every stopping place.
Robert Louis Stevenson described the camps as "Roaring, impromptu cities, full of gold, lust, and death.”
Only a small portion of their population had anything to do with the railroad or any legitimate occupation.
     These temporary cities of the "hangers-on", with canvas tents, plain board shanties, and turf-hovels, began at the one-hundredth parallel. The official starting point of the Transcontinental Railroad.

followed right along with the construction gangs.
They were made up of gambling houses, saloons, dance parlors, general stores, and the soiled doves, ‘ladies’ that would show you a good time... If you paid them.
      Desperadoes of every grade, the vilest of men and of women made up "Hell on Wheels”. ( A name attributed to Samuel Bowels.)
     Dens of iniquity. was what Alexander Toponce said of the camps, “It seemed for a while as if all the toughs in the West had gathered there. Every form of vice was in evidence.
Drunkenness and gambling were the mildest things they did. It was not uncommon for two or three men to be shot or knifed in a night.”
     Henry M Stanley stated “I verily believe that there are men here who would murder a fellow creature for five dollars. Nay, there are men who have already done it, and who stalk abroad in daylight unwhipped of justice. Not a day passes but a dead body is found somewhere in the vicinity with pockets rifled of their contents. . . . “
     “One to two thousand men and a dozen or two women were encamped in the makeshift shelters.          By day disgusting, by night dangerous;
     gambling, drinking, hurdy-gurdy dancing and the vilest of sexual commerce;
     the chief business  and pastime of the hours, it fairly festered in corruption,
     disorder, and death.”

     That was how Samuel Bowles described the temporary cities that would set up for 30-60 days or so then break down and move along with the progression of the rails.
          More joined the prostitutes, gamblers, bartenders, pimps, and shills* that were in Hell on Wheels for "big money" during the trek through Wyoming and Utah Territories.
         . The Sunday night roundups had familiarized, those in charge of keeping the peace, with the worst toughs and the filthiest bawds. The raids were a foretaste of the Vigilante hangings and gun battles that would torture every town founded along the Union Pacific in 1868‑69.
They stalked in, shot down the toughs who pulled guns, marched "the worst ones" out to the cottonwood grove and hung them.
        General Dodge received a dispatch that a crowd of gamblers had taken the terminal point at Julesburg and refused to obey the local officers that had been appointed over it.
        "I wired General Casement to take back his track force, clean the place up, and sustain the officers. When I returned to Julesburg I asked General Casement what he had done. He replied, 'I will show you.' He took me up to a little rise just beyond Julesburg and showed me a small graveyard, saying, 'General, they all died in their boots, but it brought peace.' "
      Sunday nights the foremen moved from saloon to saloon in squads, guns ready; Monday, it was work as usual at sunup.
      In his personal diary of the summer of 1868, surveyor A.N. Ferguson noted 45 men killed by Indians, six drowned, one construction worker killed falling off a bridge, 10 shot dead in robberies or fights and one killed by a stray bullet while sitting in his tent.
      Uinta County, Wyoming, states in their history: “It is believed that the cost in lives during the construction of the grade through Uinta County (to the Utah border) was ten men to a mile. Often their bodies were buried, without ceremony, in the roadbeds.”
        Alexander Toppence wrote about the battle of Beartown Wyoming. [a railroad construction town just over the border from Utah.].
      "When I still had the beef contract, I was camped on the south side of the track at a sulfur spring across from Beartown. Down the track east, about 600 feet was a cold water spring and there the editor of the Beartown paper had his tent.
      One of the contracting firms was Cheeseborough & Magee. They had a grading contract and the toughest gang on the road. Magee was hard-boiled and when a bunch of the men saw him coming they would say to each other, 'Lookout, here comes Cinny,' and then they would make the dirt fly.               Magee would size up the work done and if he was dissatisfied he would knock a pick off the handle and use the pick handle as a club, and knock two or three of them down. They were nearly all Irish and they seemed to think it was all right.
      One day a gang of graders came to town and got drunk and raised such a row that the city marshal arrested three of them and put them in the lock-up, a little new cabin just built of green logs. Next day the paper came out with an article saying that 'Beartown had stood enough from the rowdy and criminal element and it was time to call a halt.' And more just like it.
                               [insert photo]      Beartown Wyoming 1868
            The next morning I saw about fifty of the Cheeseborough and Magee outfit coming along the track. They had read the paper. The leaders had ropes in their hands and they called out as they passed me that they were going to hang the editor. There was a mule standing ready saddled at the door of my tent and I jumped on him and raced down to the editor's tent. The crowd got to the front door as I got to the back of the tent. I cut a long slit in the back of the tent with my knife and got him out on the mule and he escaped. They simply ruined that printing office and you can depend on it, I did nothing to interfere further.
            Then they went across the grade into town. The businessmen locked their stores and about a dozen got together in Nuckles store with rifles to defend themselves. The leader of the mob was a man named Tom Smith. He led them to the lock-up and they tried to liberate the prisoners. They tried to bum the jail but the logs were too green.
             The mob ran the town from eight o'clock to four in the afternoon, getting drunker and more dangerous all the time.
              About four, Smith knocked on the door of Nuckles store and when the proprietor opened the door a little and advised them to get out of town Smith shot him in the leg. Then the shooting became general. It was a regular battle. The men with rifles barricaded in the store opened up and swept the streets.
           Seventeen men were killed in the mob and as many more were wounded, some of whom died. Some people called it a massacre, but it had a good effect and just as in the case of the "Vigilantes" in Montana there was an end to the rough stuff on the Union Pacific.
         The graves of those killed in the Beartown fight, are still to be seen on the south side of the Union Pacific track just east of Hilliard Station. In regard to the Vigilantes, in the early days in Montana. I don't think they made any mistake in hanging anybody. The only mistake they made was that about fifty percent of those whom they merely banished should have been hung instead, as quite a number of these men were finally hung on the Union Pacific road, during its construction. I got up one morning at my camp near Beartown, Wyoming, and noticed something hanging from a tripod near the railroad track, and I walked down to see what it was. It was three of those fellows, who I knew had been banished from Montana in 1864, with a little tag pinned on their coat, which read, "Warning to the road agents."
          The UP’s advance westward spawned some rough towns. Among them was Bear River City,just over the Utah border, Wasatch, Echo, Ogden and Corinne. (15)
         At Wasatch located just inside the Utah Territory, Union Pacific paymaster O.C, Smith recorded in his diary, 29 June 1869,
          “There was a man shot and hung at Wasatch tonight, Reason given, He is a Damned Nigger.” Violence and prejudice ran uncontrolled. (16)
          Correspondent Henry Morton Stanley wrote "Every gambler in the Union seems to have steered his course here. Every known game under the sun is played here. Every house is a saloon and every saloon is a gambling den.”(17)
         When the railroad moved on, past Wasatch and Echo, seven skeletons were found under a saloon, among the whiskey bottles. (18)
         In it’s early days, Uintah Utah was also called Easton, and this village near the mouth of Weber Canyon served as the departing point for Salt Lake City.
         “It seemed every building was either a grog shop, gambling den, or what might loosely be termed a restaurant. Uinta in fact,” John Jaques concluded “is one of the most repulsive looking places I ever saw" (19)
        (Corinne ) “The child is born, and her name, as you see, is Corinne.” The Salt Lake Reporter headlined the announcement. The selection of the last town on the long line of the Union Pacific Railroad. Other camps in the west were to be temporary construction camps.(20)
        Corinne, Box Elder County, Utah, was about the most famous city west of St. Louis, and East of San Francisco. The boom struck the town before the railroad had reached Ogden. Immorality ran very high in Corinne in boom days. They had twenty-eight saloons and gambling houses. Along with crimson lights, moral laws of decency were not observed very well.(21)
        One of the observers writing to the Deseret News, drew the conclusion that Corinne was “fast becoming civilized, several men having been killed there already, the last one was found in the river with four bullet holes through him and his head badly mangled. (22)
         Telegraph dated April 10, 1869: ” John Barry, shot at the Promontory, removed to Brigham city and had bullet removed by dr. Ormsby; recovering.” Telegraph dated April 13, 1869 from Sharp & Young Camp,”On Tuesday night two men were killed two miles from here. “Lucky Bill” shot John Berry through the arm: Berry then shot his assailant in the abdomen and he died Yesterday.”(23)
         J. H. Beadle a New York Correspondent wrote Nineteen saloons . . . two dance-houses amused the elegant leisure of the evening hours, and the supply of “sports” was fully equal to the requirements of a railroad town. . . At one time, the town contained eighty “nymphs du pave,” popularly known in Mountain English as “soiled doves.” (24)
          A correspondent from the New York Herald, visiting Corinne in May 1869, considered Corrinne the worst town he had ever entered. The appearance and the character of its population were frightening. In fact he was so fearful looking at the faces of the community that instead of spending the night there as he had planned, he hired a “pine box on four wheels” and left for Brigham City, breathing a sigh of relief when Corinne was behind him. (25)
           The Central Pacific had lost many men in the blizzards, the avalanches and the blasting with black powder and nitroglycerin (26)
         At the tunnels near Donner Summit and across Nevada. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of Chinese workers died while building the line. (26)
          In the tunnels, particularly the 1659 foot Summit Tunnel, it was Chinese work crews who were responsible for the blasting. The rock was so hard that only about seven to eight inches of progress were made in a day. That is, until they began to use nitroglycerin in 1866. With the nitroglycerin, progress was made much faster, but at a greater expense of life. Between the blasting on the cliff face and the blasting in the tunnels, numerous Chinese workers perished.
         The "Central Pacific did not keep record of coolie casualties" Work continued through the winters, which in the high Sierras were rough and cold and full of snow and blizzards. The work continued under the snow. The work crews lived like "arctic moles", only seeing daylight when they poked through new air holes and smoke vents.The engineers wrote "In many cases, the road between camp and work was through snow tunnels, some of them 200 feet long.
        The construction of retaining work in the canyons carried on through the winter. A great dome was excavated in the snow, where the wall was to be built, and the wall stones were lowered through the shaft in the snow to the men working inside the dome... There were many snow slides. In some cases entire camps were carried away and the bodies of the men not found until the following spring."
        In one snowstorm A fully loaded work train slid off the mountain, crashing in the valley below, track and all. (27)
       Both Central Pacific and Union Pacific manufactured Nitroglycerin in log-cabin factories deep in the wilderness. Then the deadly "stuff" was carried pack-a‑back, or by mule cart, up the mountains to the bridge gangs and tunnelmen.
       Chinese laborers learned to fire it by trial-and‑error methods, that maimed or killed hundreds of them. Some of the rock cuts and tunnels still used by Union Pacific and Southern Pacific across Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California are monuments to the unknown dead of nitro's terror reign across the vanishing "Desert." ( 28)
        These were the deaths that were caused by accidents, nature and each other. This doesn’t include the 1000’s of deaths from Indian raids and plagues. Some Indian tribes were angry, the giant locomotive scared off the buffalo, elk and antelope in the native american hunting grounds. Their attacks were swift and very deadly. The braves would sneak into the livestock areas and spook them so they would stampede uncontrollably through the temporary city and camp. With the commotion of the livestock the other warriors would ride in from other directions on horses or run in groups carrying tomahawks, spears and using bow and arrows. The casualties were immense, camps were burned, heads were scalped, bodies piled up. (29)
          As the two railroad companies advanced closer to Promontory Summit, the men from several countries came within sight of one another. The civil war soldiers, freedmen (freed negro slaves] , Irish and Mormons from the East, working for the Union Pacific and the Chinese and Mormon camps from the West, working for the Central Pacific.
         "Crocker's Pets" is what the Chinese were dubbed by the Irish, so named because of Charles Crocker, who recruited the 12,000+ Chinese.
            The Irishmen hated the little yellow men. When the gangs met, the Irish laid a "grave" of dynamite on the Central's tracks, and a whole crew was killed. The Chinese wisely laid a "grave" on the Chinese line, and the fun was stopped by mutual consent.“(30)
           On may 6th, 1869 The San Francisco Evening Bulletin reported a Chinese Tong war: "A battle has occurred between two rival companies of Chinamen, several hundred in number, laborers of the See Yup and Teng Wo companies. They have been idle at [camp] Victory,eight miles from here, for a number of days past. The row occurred about $15 Due from one camp to the other. After the usual braggadocio, both parties sailed in , at a given signal, armed with every conceivable weapon. Spades were handled and crowbars, spikes, picks and infernal machines were hurled between the rank of the contestants. Several shots were fired and everything betokened the outbreak of a riot. At this juncture, Superintendent Strobridge with several of his men, rushed into the melee and with the assistance of the leading “Chinamen,” who were more peaceable disposed, he succeeded in separating the combatants and restoring order. . . . The casualties include the shooting, fatally it is supposed of a Chinaman. The ball penetrated his left side, tearing the flesh and inflicting a very ugly wound. If this man dies, another encounter will certainly follow and much bloodshed will doubtless ensue. Dr. Blackwood has rendered surgical attendance to the wounded man. (31)
            Overworked and unused to the rigors of the climate, the Chinese died like flies when smallpox struck the camps in the winter and fall of 1868-69. Hundreds of their graves are scattered among the sage along the right of way through Nevada and western Utah. (32)
           In 1869 a Cholera epidemic swept the railroad camp at Promontory, due to the unsanitary conditions that spread into the water supply. Countless men were buried in mass graves, at Brigham city’s cemetery. (33)
          Alex Toponce noted in his autobiography: At Promontory after the last spike was driven, the celebration over, and the dignitaries were gone, the men stayed and continued to work on the rails. The UP & CP hadn't settled on the price for the line from Promontory to Ogden, so Promontory continued as the junction where travelers changed trains. It was this way for almost a year. During this time, only ONE man per night was killed and buried in unmarked graves. This was the end of the Hell on Wheels that had followed the UP west from Omaha.(34) But not the end of the deaths .
           The transient population of the tent cities dispersed slowly during that year, Settling into Corinne, Ogden and other railroad towns. Ogden had rumors of Chinese Hatchet men that would literally chop up a Chinese man if he was found not following the law of the Tong. The pieces of the unfortunate man’s body would be hidden in the walls of the opium dens and gambling establishments underground.
          The Chinese had introduced opium to the railroad workers. It’s use spread like wild fire. Opium dens were found in the basements and dark corners of the businesses on Ogden’s 25th street. Brothels occupied the second floor in almost every building down two bit street and along Washington Ave. While Legitimate businesses occupied the street levels. (35)
          It is difficult to estimate how many deaths there would have been during the construction of the railroad through Weber County to Promontory Summit in Box Elder County, but the above narrative lets us know there probably were hundreds. .

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Woman pushed off Train

Woman Identified

Victim Identified
A young woman who fell or was pushed from a train and was killed near Layton 30 has been identified through fingerprints sent to the FBI in Washington.
DAVIS County Sheriff William Peters identified the victim as Mrs Kathleen Russell, 21 of Omaha, Neb.
 He said witnesses told of the woman being accompanied by a man shortly before her death  but police thus far have no suspects.  The woman's estranged husband is being held for questioning by Utah authorities but no charges have been filed the sheriff said.
"WE STILL are not certain
if Mrs. Russell's death was accidental  suicide or homicide," said Sheriff Peters "All we know for certain is that she fell from a moving train and landed face down in a mud puddle where she drowned."
The victim was reportedly seen boarding the northbound freight out of Salt Lake City shortly before her death.  She was reportedly accompanied by a male who witnesses said left the train at Clearfield.   He never has been found.
Mrs. Russell,  unidentified until a few days ago was buried in a pauper's grave in Farmington City Cemetery.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tragedy with a train, Train Wins

A woman in Morristown TN. got flustered when she was stuck on the tacks as the lights came on and the arm came down.  So flustered she couldn't put her car into reverse.  Sad situation


6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - A woman was killed Tuesday morning when a train struck a vehicle near downtown Morristown.

The accident was reported just after 11 a.m. on Liberty Hill Street just off Main Street.

Morristown police say at Mary Devotie, 79, was killed in the accident. 

Officers say Devotie was driving over the railroad crossing as the flashing lights were activated. At some point, the top bars were fully in the down position, leaving Devotie unable to continue. They say she tried to put the car in reverse when she realized what was going on, but put it in park by accident.

The train pushed Devotie's vehicle more than 80 feet. Police say her airbags did not deploy.

Neighbor David Gulley says he knew Devotie for years and couldn't believe it when he heard the news.

"She's always been a dear, dear friend to me. I had close relationships with the family. This is certainly another tragedy for the city of Morristown," said Gulley.

Officials say it's important to pay attention at railroad crossings. 

"The old adage: stop look and listen at all the train crossings to make sure nothing is coming," said Morristown Police Captain Charles Letterman.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Deadly Trax Accident spurs changes in UTA crossings.

WEST JORDAN — Two years ago, when a teenage girl was hit and killed at a TRAX crossing in West Jordan, neighbors demanded better safety.
In June 2011, Shariah Casper and her cousin were crossing TRAX at 3200 West and 8600 South. The Utah Transit Authority was testing its TRAX trains on the line at the time.
After an eastbound train went by, Casper stepped out to cross the tracks. She never saw the speeding westbound train that hit and killed her.
Casper's death helped further the process of finding a safety standard for rail and pedestrian crossings.
"Every accident plays a role in our continuous improvement of pedestrian safety," said Todd Provost, with UTA's Engineering and Project Development department.
Ultimately, UTA decided to upgrade not only that deadly rail-pedestrian crossing at 3200 West and 8600 South, but all similar rail crossings system-wide.
"We were not happy with the pedestrian crossing standards that were out in the industry," Provost said.
Enlarge image
The new crossing is designed to grab a pedestrian's attention. As they approach the crossing, he or she will run into a fence. The pedestrian is then forced to change his or her line of travel, look up, and step to the right to proceed to the crossing.
He and a team of safety engineers set out with the Utah Department of Transportation and Union Pacific to build better pedestrian crossings for TRAX and FrontRunner lines that did not already have signaled crosswalks.
"The focus and emphasis over the last two years has really been on the pedestrians," Provost said.
UTA is upgrading 160 crossings in all; 70 are already complete. FrontRunner South was built with the crossings; FrontRunner North and the mid-Jordan and Draper TRAX lines are getting the upgrades now. UTA expects to finish them all within a year.
"The simplicity of this design is really the key," Provost said, pointing out the clear signage and simple fencing at the already upgraded 900 South and 600 West crossing.
"What we're looking to do is keep the pedestrian from making a straightforward move across the intersection without looking to the left or right," he said.
The crossing is designed to grab a pedestrian's attention — it takes into account the fact that too many people walk around with their heads buried in cellphones. As people approach the crossing, they run into a fence. They are then forced to change their line of travel, look up, and step to the right to proceed to the crossing.
"I think it's a good idea because the kids don't pay attention. And when (engineers) make it a little harder, they have to pay attention," said Terry Robinson, who lives in the neighborhood where Casper was killed.
"By having to move around a little bit, they have to pay attention," she she said.
UTA engineers believe that is exactly what will save lives.

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Other accidents where people were injured.

April 30, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — An accident involving a car and a TRAX train caused delays in downtown Salt Lake City Wednesday afternoon.
A car was hit by a TRAX train near 100 South and Main Street around 12 p.m., according to Utah Transit Authority officials. No injuries were immediately reported in connection with the accident.
UTA officials said that commuters should expect delays on the Green Line heading west to the Salt Lake City International Airport.
More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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This story was originally published Nov 05, 2013 at 11:59 p.m.
MIDVALE — Three people were injured Tuesday night when a TRAX train crashed into a train car that had become separated from another TRAX train near 8100 South and 100 East.
Utah Transit Authority spokesman Remi Barron said the conductor of the oncoming train spotted the lone train car and attempted to stop but was unable to do so in time. All of its lights were out, and the operator didn't realize anything had been left behind.
The subsequent collision injured a TRAX operator and two passengers, but none seriously. Barron credited that to the slowing of the oncoming train.
UTA is conducting an investigation to determine what caused the train car to separate from the first train, Barron said.
It was unclear how long the car was sitting on the tracks before it was hit — the operator may not have even been aware of the problem — but TRAX trains usually travel about 15 minutes apart, Barron said.
Wednesday morning TRAX northbound blue line experienced 15 minute delays as a result.
Update: Nov. 13, 2013
UTA released the following statement about this accident:
A cause has yet to be determined for the TRAX accident that occurred on the Blue Line on Tuesday Nov. 6 at approximately 8100 South in Midvale. The collision resulted from the last car of an out-of-service TRAX train becoming uncoupled. This kind of incident is extremely rare, and UTA is conducting a thorough investigation to determine what caused the TRAX cars to uncouple.
UTA is working with the vehicle manufacturer on the investigation, along with the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration. The coupler on the vehicle in question will be completely dismantled and inspected in an effort to identify any mechanical or electrical issues that may have contributed to the incident. With no initial determination of cause, this is likely to be a time-consuming process that could take several weeks or even months to complete.
Safety is UTA's number one priority. Each TRAX vehicle is thoroughly inspected each day, and UTA is committed to making sure all safety policies and procedures are followed to ensure the safety of our riders and the public.

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