Our railroad experts are civil engineers with backgrounds in railroad engineering and grade crossing safety. We are frequently retained to evaluate grade crossing collisions and train/subway collisions involving motor vehicles or pedestrians. Our architects evaluate pedestrian falls in railroad and subway facilities.
- Track structure design.
- Station repair, yard track improvement, bridge repair design.
- Rail-highway grade crossing safety and design.
- Railway signaling, both for train control and grade crossing protection.
- Track inspection.
Grade crossing collisions:
- Were corner sight distances adequate?
- Was the profile of the road across the tracks within established criteria?
- Was the crossing properly marked?
- Were the crossing warning devices appropriate and did they operate properly?
- Should the train operator have seen the vehicle and stopped the train without impact?
- Should the operator have seen the pedestrian and stopped the train or subway without impact?
- Were there pedestrian protection devices that should have been present?
- Was public access to the train facility, including power devices, adequately restricted?
- Was recreational use of the railroad land appropriately restricted?
- Was the inter-track gap between platform and car reasonable?
- Was the platform surface appropriately slip resistant and well maintained?
Often, additional areas of expertise are employed when evaluating injuries involving trains. Human factors experts evaluate driver and pedestrian response to signs and warnings, and train engineer response to pedestrians or motor vehicles on the track. Meteorologists determine the impact weather conditions may have had on a collision and biomechanical engineers analyze injuries to reconstruct the event. Electrical engineers evaluate issues involving power device contacts, including “third rail”, overhead lines and other power devices.
- Railroad Grade Crossings - Expert Introduction to Sight Line Standards
Since at least 1877, railroads have been required to give reasonable and timely warning of a train’s approach and to take reasonable care to prevent injury to roadway users. Originally, this was nothing more than the train’s whistle and a set of crossed signs reading “RAILROAD CROSSING”. Today, it can be as sophisticated as 4-quadrant gates and vehicle presence detectors that signal the train if a vehicle is stuck on the tracks.
Regardless of the warning and protective devices present, the vehicle operators who do cross the tracks are bound to exercise ordinary care and diligence to ascertain whether a train is approaching.
Sight distance can be very important. Since about 90,000 of the existing grade crossings have no flashing lights or gates to warn of a train’s approach, it is necessary that the vehicle driver can see down the tracks for trains and make correct decisions about crossing safely. This means the vehicle operator must be able to see an approaching train in time to stop or if already stopped, see sufficient clear track so that he can accelerate and safely clear the crossing. The FHWA Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook describes various distances depending on the speed of the vehicle and of the train, as shown in the table within this document, Sight Distances for Combinations of Highway Vehicles and Train Speeds.
View Full Article HERE
- Railroad-Highway Grade Crossings - Expert Services
A railroad has the right of way at a grade crossing and those who are crossing a railroad track are bound to exercise care and diligence to ascertain whether a train is approaching. However, the railroad and highway agencies must also exercise care to avoid injury to highway users through the design, construction and maintenance of the crossing and to provide reasonable and timely warning of an approaching train.
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- Manual Turnout Switch Machine Lever Injury
During inclement winter weather, a railroad employee was struck in the face while operating a
manual turnout switch machine lever. The employee claimed that the railroad’s actions or omissions
created an unreasonably dangerous condition that was the cause of the injury. The railroad alleged
that improper action by the employee was the cause.
We showed that the alleged improper actions of the employee could not have caused the lever to
strike the employee as it did, and that the railroad’s allegation was not supported by any evidence.
We determined that the railroad’s failure to properly maintain the switch machine and its attachments
during the inclement weather created an unreasonably dangerous condition that was a cause of the
employee’s injury and that the railroad’s failure to provide adequate warnings and training with
regard to a stored energy hazard deprived the employee of the information needed to do the job
View Full Case HERE
- Workplace Ergonomics - Expert Investigates Railroad Worker’s Comp Claim
A railroad worker had surgery for bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and claimed a repetitive strain injury (RSI) was the cause. He alleged that he had been injured due to ergonomic hazards from the tools, machine and equipment he used, and the work tasks he performed in the course of his employment.
View Full Verdicts \ Settlement HERE
- Robson Forensic Brochure
Robson Forensic has been providing high quality and professional forensic engineering, architectural, scientific and
investigative services throughout the United States since 1987. Robson Forensic provides expertise in a broad range of forensic and technical disciplines.
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