LETTER: Kevin MacDonald Proposes Solutions For North Wilmington Train Crossing Issues

Dear Editor,

A beautiful person named Roberta Devine was taken away from her family due to the terrible fatal train accident tragedy in North Wilmington, Mass. She was a Wilmington resident. She was also someone that should not have lost her life at this railroad crossing in North Wilmington. This accident was totally preventable even if the crossing lights and the crossing gates were not working. I am writing you to explain how a very simple solution could solve a serious and ongoing problem.

The Wilmington taxpayers pay over $500,000 to the MBTA each year to have 2 train stations in Wilmington, Mass. The Wilmington taxpayers, who support having 2 train stations, should have the right to have the train stop at all crossing times. This is not the case in North Wilmington. There are times when the train doesn’t stop. As a matter of fact, I know some people who have to take their car to Boston for work because the train does not stop at all passing times. This is beyond wrong.

The Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Mrs. Maselli, would neither let me address the meeting nor address Representative Robertson nor Senator Tarr at the February 14th Selectmen’s meeting when I asked to. It was my intention of offering a simple and reasonable solution for the North Wilmington Train Station problem to our legislative delegation. Not one person from the Board of Selectmen offered a solution at this meeting nor at any meeting since then. Our Town Manager should be demanding train stops at all passing times, but he has not.

Over the last several years I have been trying to offer some sanity when it comes to a solution at this train station. Let me begin by offering these measures to simply solve some problems. First, I am requesting to have the train ordered to stop at all passing times when crossing the North Wilmington Station. By doing this, all taxpayers in Wilmington will be afforded the right to board the train if they need to. Secondly, this will cause the train to have to stop which will remove a threat should there ever be a mechanical failure to the crossing lights or the crossing arms. If the train had been required to stop, the engineer would have seen the problem with the safety devices and would have been able to avoid a fatal accident. It should also be noted that the train does not have to block route 62 when letting passengers off the train when going inbound to Boston.

I have taken the train inbound from the Lawrence Station to North Wilmington in the past. I asked the conductor to let me offboard the train in such a way that the train does not have to block Route 62 (Middlesex Avenue). The conductor made this happen. He stated that I would have to walk down to the first passenger car. I did this and offboarded the train and the train did not have to block route 62.

I am recommending that there be an immediate change in policy that mandates all passengers (headed to North Wilmington) be required to sit in the first passenger car. In addition to this, I would recommend the immediate implementation of a policy that requires the train to stop without blocking route 62 at all stopping times. A policy is needed that requires the conductor to clear the engineer to proceed when safe to do so seeing that it is safe and that no emergency equipment or vehicles are trying to get through. Lastly, for the time being, I would recommend that a police cruiser to be stationed at this crossing at all passing/stopping times so he can enhance a safety protocol and provide communication with the conductor while also making sure emergency equipment is not impaired from proceeding through.

I believe our community would really appreciate it if these measures were put in place. These safety and service enhancements would make this crossing safe and benefit our entire town.

Please consider lending your support and raising awareness throughout the Wilmington Community to help make this solution become a reality. The people of the Wilmington need to speak up and demand that this solution to be implemented and expedited.

Sincerely,

Kevin MacDonald

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