| SAN ANGELO, Texas
SAN ANGELO, Texas Dec 20 Union Pacific Corp
said on Thursday that it will adjust the signal system
at the Midland, Texas, train crossing where four veterans were
killed when a freight train the company operated slammed into a
parade float last month.
The company said that the crossing meets federal regulations
but that it plans to "improve buffer time," which it described
as time beyond what is required for the signal system.
"The buffer time is added to further ensure that the signal
system always provides the warning time required by the federal
government - as it did on the day of the accident that occurred
on Nov. 15," Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said in a
The collision between the train and the parade float
occurred at the start of a weekend of festivities to honor
veterans wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. At least 14
people were injured in the crash.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board
said the warning bells began sounding and lights flashed at the
intersection 20 seconds before the train arrived.
Union Pacific did not say how long before the arrival of a
train the new signals would activate.
Two lawyers representing some of the injured veterans and
their wives said Thursday that their experts found the problem
with the crossing and that Union Pacific agreed to fix it. The
group is suing Union Pacific as well as the company that
provided the flatbed trailer used as a float.
"Every one of our clients made it very clear that their No.
1 priority in this case is to make sure nothing like this ever
happens again," said one of the lawyers, Bob Pottroff. "There
are another 100,000 (crossings) or so out there that we need to
make sure don't have similar problems."
Union Pacific, citing a National Transportation Safety Board
investigation, says that the crash was caused by the truck
failing to stop at a red light.
"We would not be having this conversation had the truck not
driven through the active railroad crossing signals," Espinoza
Smith Industries, the oilfield equipment company that
provided the flatbed trailer, has declined to comment.