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Residents demand gate at train crossing near accident scene

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 13 2013 09:32:47 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 14 2013 01:29:50 PM CST

Residents in the area of Wednesday deadly train accident are reacting to this tragedy and demanding answers.

READING, Pa. -

Residents in the area of Wednesday's deadly train accident in Reading are reacting to the tragedy and demanding answers.

Neighbors are calling the stretch of tracks a death trap, and they want something done.

Neighbors in the area of North 2nd Street, near Buttonwood Street, were stunned to find out an 18-year-old man was killed on the train tracks just after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

"It is surprising because of how close we are to it. It is very surprising. It is also scary in a way," said Emanuel Streeter, of Reading.

Neighbors said it is a dangerous open stretch of tracks, and some do not dare cross them.

"If I go through the tracks, I go over the bridge. I do not go through there like that. No. I do not do those," said Radames Montalvo, of Reading.

According to Norfolk Southern Railroad, the train was traveling from Allentown to the Pittsburgh area. The train was stopped and had just started moving when the accident took place.

Unfortunately, the teen was being dragged by a train that weighed more than 5,000 tons.

"It is dangerous and this is not going to be an example because it is still going to occur anyway," said Robert Jones, of Reading.

Neighbors said the 'no trespassing signs' are not enough to keep people from accessing the tracks. They believe a fence should be put up.

"It has been like this for years and if you look at it, they need to put some kind of barrier or fence up here, that way you do not lose a life like you did today," said Jones.

A representative from Norfolk Southern would not discuss whose responsibility it is to put up a fence, but he did say the company spends a lot of time educating the community on the dangers of trespassing on railroad property.

Reading City Councilman Jeffrey Waltman, who represents that area, said the property is Norfolk Southern's responsibility and the company should maybe look into making sure the tracks are up to company standards.