Officials Discuss Railway Safety After 2 Brightline Deaths in 1 Week

Florida transportation officials want to make sure pedestrians know how to stay safe around railroad tracks after two people were killed in one week after being struck by the new Brightline train.

Officials with Brightline, Florida East Coast Railway, SFRTA, Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency and Broward Metropolitan Planning Agency held a press conference Friday in Boca Raton to discuss safety around trains.

"Brightline is committed to equipping the general public with the knowledge necessary to stay safe around not just Brightline tracks, but all train tracks," the company said in a statement.

On Wednesday, a 51-year-old bicyclist was struck and killed by a Brightline train in Boynton Beach. Last Friday, a 32-year-old woman was struck and killed by the train, also in Boynton Beach.

Brightline's high-speed, privately-run passenger service began last week and runs between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and will soon run to downtown Miami.

The trains blow by at 79 mph, considerable faster than the average freight train, and it's possible that people might underestimate how fast it's going.

"The fact is that standing in the way of any train at any speed is dangerous, the key remains education and awareness," said Steve Abrams, with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.

Brightline said it has spent millions of dollars upgrading rail crossings for safety but will do more, including passing out safety guideline pamphlets at schools, public gatherings and even to drivers at crossings.

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