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Most dangerous railroad crossings for US truckers

4 of top 5 in Phoenix metropolitan area

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Of the nation’s 200,000-plus railroad crossings tracked by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), at least 10 accidents apiece occurred at 15 of them from 2006 to 2015. While fatalities didn’t occur at all 15 crossings, and the data didn’t specify how many accidents involved large commercial trucks, the repeated incidents increase the potential for injuries and loss of life.

The FRA said many of the crossings are at busy, multiple-lane intersections in areas with significant truck traffic, or have tracks crossing roads on a diagonal. The accidents included trains hitting vehicles stopped in the crossings, vehicles running into moving trains and pedestrians being struck while crossing the tracks.

These are the top five crossings, in no particular order, according to the FRA’s latest report from April 2016.

Phoenix

North 27th Avenue at West Thomas Road
BNSF Railway

This railroad crossing lies just a few miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, the fifth-largest city in the country based on 2020 estimated Census results. From 2006 to 2015, this crossing had the highest number of reported incidents with 24, resulting in two injuries and no deaths.

Phoenix

North 35th Avenue at U.S. Highway 60
BNSF Railway


This railroad crossing is located just a couple miles northwest of the previously discussed crossing, about 5 miles from downtown Phoenix near the Triangle Industrial Center. From 2006 to 2015, 21 incidents were reported at this crossing resulting in four injuries and no deaths.

Ashdown, Arkansas

West Front Street at North Park Avenue
Kansas City Southern

This railroad crossing claimed four lives from 2006 to 2015. The crossing lies just to the west of U.S. Highway 59/71 in the small town of Ashdown, Arkansas, about 20 miles north of Texarkana, Texas.


Related: Most dangerous highway stretches for US truckers


James Sutton, current Ashdown mayor, told FreightWaves that Kansas City Southern offered to pay $100,000 to close this crossing, as well as two others in the town, because of their dangerous histories.

Sutton said town officials refused, and wanted safety features added instead. Eventually, the railroad installed crossarms at the three crossings, as well as a stoplight at the one on this list. Along with the four deaths at this crossing, 19 incidents were reported at this crossing, resulting in three injuries.

Glendale, Arizona

North 43rd Avenue at U.S. Highway 60
BNSF Railway

This next railroad crossing is almost 7 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, in the suburb of Glendale, just south of the Santa Grande neighborhood. From 2006 to 2015, 19 incidents were reported at this crossing resulting in three injuries and no deaths.

Phoenix

North 27th Avenue at West Thomas Road
BNSF Railway

This fourth Arizona railroad crossing on the list lies about 4 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, just west of Interstate 17. From 2006 to 2015, 15 incidents were reported at this crossing resulting in four injuries and no deaths.

Additional information

Glendale also has the 12th-most dangerous crossing in the nation. Each of the Phoenix and Glendale crossings had 12 trains and more than 30,000 vehicles passing through it each day from 2006 to 2015.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.