America’s deadliest train, a private passenger service called Brightline, slammed into a truck hauling cars in Hollywood, Florida, earlier this month in a scene that looked like something out of an action movie than real life.
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The crash occurred at the intersection of Dixie Highway and Washington Street during a severe weather event Wednesday, April 12, WPLG reports. The force of the crash sent cars flying and took out a traffic light at the same time.
No one was hurt in this crash, which occurred during the extreme rain and flooding the area experienced earlier this month, NBC Miami reports.
The crash could have been much worse. Brightline is growing its speed and presence not only in Florida, but in California as well, despite its abysmal safety record. For every 37,000 miles traveled by a Brightline train, there is one fatality. Since 2017, trains killed 88 people up and down Florida’s Gold Coast.
Part of the reason for the deaths is that southern Florida is a uniquely terrible spot for high-speed rail. At least, if you run that rail on the Florida East Coast Railway — also known for their uniquely deadly operations. The FEC has 178 street level or “grade” crossings on 66 miles of track. To give you a comparison, the second deadliest trainline in the U.S. CalTrain in San Francisco, experiences one death for every 105,000 miles and only contains 41 grade crossings on 77 miles of track. Florida’s towns turned to cities by growing up centered around these tracks, so large populations inevitably come into contact with them.
Earlier this year, a Brightline train killed two people after hitting a car on the tracks just a few days before testing at 110 mph speeds were to take place in West Palm Beach. Brightline initially blamed the spike in deaths on suicides, mental illness and drivers trying to beat trains but a federal report from 2014 warned Brightline that the tracks experience epidemic levels of trespassing. It advised Brightline to build tracks itself along freeway arteries, or at least reinforce grade crossings. Brightline initially acted on neither recommendation and only in the last few years began shoring up safety at crossings. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating several deadly crashes.