For Immediate Release
October 31, 2019
Railroad Crossing on Manassas Drive
At 7:52 this morning, a Manassas Park City Schools bus driver was transporting approximately 50 students to the elementary campus. After completing a full-stop safety check at the railroad crossing on Manassas Drive, the driver proceeded to cross. During the crossing, the driver saw an approaching north-bound train before the traffic control crossing device began operating. The driver reversed direction to move the bus off the tracks and the safety gate arm came to rest on the bus side mirror. No one was injured, and no equipment was damaged.
After an official review from the City Manager’s Office and Police Department, it was determined that the driver took a course of action to ensure the school bus was off the tracks and out of harm’s way. City Officials have determined that as a result of the action taken by the bus driver to keep the students safe, there was no risk to the school bus at any time.
The City is aware of the recent malfunctions of the traffic control crossing devices at this location and thus after this morning’s occurrence, City and School officials met with representatives from Norfolk Southern Corporation. Norfolk Southern determined that the railroad crossing signals operated as designed providing the requisite time (per federal law) for vehicles to get off the track prior to arrival of the train, and that the bus driver’s actions were appropriate.
The malfunction earlier this week pointed to a circuit cart failure. Norfolk Southern assured City and school officials that the issue has been resolved. Norfolk Southern has agreed to increase driver visibility for those traveling eastbound on Manassas Drive by removing shrubbery to permit a greater line of sight for oncoming railroad traffic.
The City is appreciative of MPCS’s continual focus on the safety of its staff and students, and of the work of the Manassas Park Police Department in ensuring safety. Please exercise caution around all school buses and railroad crossings.
More information about Norfolk Southern Corporation’s safety commitment can be found in the attachment below.