Graniteville makes train tracks safer

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January 4, 2008, News 12 at 6 o'clock

GRANITEVILLE, S.C.--Joel Randall remembers seeing a train smashed into a car in 2004.

"Five lives were lost that possibly, if they could've been put up earlier, would've been saved," he said.

He's referring to arm barriers that were not in place three years ago. He thinks they might have prevented the accident.

"We don't want to repeat the past, what we went through," he said.

Now, the barriers are up at four Graniteville railroad crossings. Two more are under construction, including the one at the Ascauga Lake Road and Canal Road intersection, where the accident happened.

State Representative Roland Smith said it wasn't until after more people died in the chlorine spill that the safety measures were considered.

"It's quite unfortunate that it took the chlorine spill to get the attention, of the people we needed to get attention, to make this happen," the representative said.

He thinks the barriers would not have prevented the 2005 chlorine disaster, but if it didn't happen, the safety measures might not be in place today.

Now three years later, he just wishes the job could have been done earlier, and faster.

"Unfortunately government moves at a snail's pace," he said.

Randall also wishes the barriers were put up sooner, but says we have to learn from our mistakes.

"We don't have a crystal ball. We can't look into it and see what would've happened. Unfortunately we've had to live through it," Randall said.

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