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Germantown committee releases Amtrak FOIA response

Oct 03, 2018 12:00 pm
The Germantown Waterfront Advisory Committee released October 3, through its spokesperson Billy Shannon, materials received from Amtrak in response to the group's recent Freedom of Information Act request for reports of any incidents that may have occurred along the Germantown riverfront in recent years. Specifically, the committee was looking for data going back to 2010 concerning incidents at the two public grade crossings at Ernest R. Lasher Jr. Memorial and Cheviot parks, and anywhere along the right-of-way. In response, Amtrak produced more than 200 pages of records containing 24 reports of incidents along the right-of-way, and 19 reports of malfunctions at the grade crossings during the eight-and-a-half-year period. Two the right-of-way incidents were fatalities — one was an Amtrak maintenance worker struck by a train and the other a person found dead near the tracks, believed to have been killed as a result of falling or jumping from a freight train. Five other incidents occurred north of Lasher Park, in an area not impacted by Amtrak's proposed fence project. Other incidents involved rocks and fallen trees, events unrelated to public's use of the right-of-way. Based on the information received, the committee concluded that the public can safely continue to access to the river shoreline, and believes a public presence in the area can actually enhance safety, according to Shannon. Last week, the state Department of Transportation announced it would postpone public meetings on the fencing project until 2019. According to the committee, Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said in a statement last week, The project is still under review by Amtrak and the state. Read the full press release at GatesGate [dot] org.