• Questions about the Herricks Road Accident - 1982

  • Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.
Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by The Tenth Legion
What I think he means is what is known as a "space case." That occurs when a person is pinned between the platform and the train, or under the wheels of the train. They are still alive, and conscious, but in shock, and good as dead because when the train is shimmed away from the platform or jacked-up so the person can be extricated, they die. The pressure on the body stanches the blood loss until the train is removed. Then everything drops out, literally.....not something one soon forgets.
  by M1 9147
A few of those types of incidents came though! Besides the one at Herricks Road, the other involved 4 teens at the Grumman Crossing in 1985 which they were all killed! 262 was the lead engine, and you guys might if still around find the pamphlet on it in safety brochures. Newsday posted that picture that day and the third rail was being installed in that area. That of coarse was a Ronkonkoma bound train as it was diesel until 1987-88!
M1 9147: I remember that brochure myself-but I believe it was of an accident in Deer Park involving a for-hire limousine(Lincoln Continental) that was pictured in Newsday
and indeed did happen during the Ronkonkoma electrification program remembering the then-new damaged third rail...When it's a tie the car definitely loses!
  by railfan365
On the matter of recurring stupidity around railcrossings - I doubt that it will ever end. In 1977 when my wife was a pre-teen in Oceanside, a then 12 year old neighbor on his bicycle took to playing chicken with a train at the crossing by the station and lost. Just in the last year or 2, a train that I was on from Ronk to NYP ran over the car of a woman who had driven onto the westbound track at Roslyn Road.
My point, and I do have one, is that we all have to be vigilant and patient for the failings of a few.
  by M1 9147
One thing while in elementary school, we had that safety scooter program in which the little sit down scooters in the gym, and a little town was set up, and they taught us while at railroad crossings, to get off the bike, walk the crossing, then get back on the bike! Its just for something like that takes extra caution in being safe rather than being sorry! And Mactraxx, sounds familiar with that Lincoln now, so thanks for that clarification!
  by diffusedmind
Oh man, speaking of two wheeled vehicles...I was riding my bicycle over the Dubois Ave. crossing right next to Gibson. Was just a little wet out...ended up sliding and almost getting my front wheel in the groove next to the rail. Was one of those OHNOES! moments.
  by Train dispatcher
I know I'm on this topic a little bit late, but I kinda remember it pretty well as I was the section c dispatcher that night. The train that struck the kids was 4602, which was a Jamaica to Port Jefferson train. As I heard latter, the kids were all working at a catering hall on Jericho turnpike and had just gotten off duty. The gates were working fine and the driver, who had been drinking, just went around them. Herricks road was a bad crossing because of the heavy traffic and the fact that it was almost a mile from Mineola station and trains tending to be moving quickly even if they had a station stop. 4602, as someone else mentioned, didn't stop there.

I remember Jack (third Trick chief) was able to call a veteran trainmaster to manage the situation. He had been on many train vs people incidents but said that nothing shook him up quite as much as this one. I remember sending 4232 via the montauk branch to Babylon where the crew changed ends (push pull) and went back over the central branch to Hicksville. The police cleared the incident and returned the track to service around the same time 4232 reached Hicksville but I guess the psgrs probably liked the fact that they were moving rather than sitting at Queens for 4 hours. I didn't see anyone mention it but it turned out that Kathy Caemmerer, the sole survivor out of the 10 youth in that van, was the daughter of State Sen John Caemmerer, who was the state senator chairing the transporation committee. Talk about irony. The resistance to elevating Herricks road evaporated after that incident and it happened as previously described.

Herricks road wasn't the worst crossing we ever had. That had to be Unqua road in Massapequa Park. The difference was that Unqua road was elevated much quicker than Herricks road was.
Aside to LI Tool - The trainmaster who went disliked this title immensely but some of the 204 types referred to him as my father.
  by LongIslandTool
You mean he wasn't really your father? - just kidding!
  by LB
At Unqua Rd, I know there were at least 3 accidents. Two involved bicycles, one in 1965 and another in 1973. The 1965 accident was the result of a second train after the bicycle passed the lowered gate. In 1975, a Cadillac got struck there as well. There were eight fatalities in the 1970-1980 time period for the Massapequa Park group. In the late 1970's during the grade elimination, they closed the Unqua Rd crossing to vehicle traffic converting it to pedestrian/bicycles only. I don't know what the most dangerous crossing is currently, perhaps Stewart Ave, Bethpage; Covert Ave, New Hyde Park or Robbins Lane, Syosset. They have all seen bad accidents. I think the last bad one at Covert Ave was December 16, 1995 where at 9:10 AM a black Pontiac Grand Am drove around the gates in front of the westbound 75 MPH 8:33 Huntington train deliberately killing himself, with the car bursting into flames.
  by No Rule G For Me
They show that suicide when we qualify as Conductors, and during our 3 year book of rules.
They have video of the car burning, while wedged under the front of the train.
In one of the Bicycle accidents, I dont remember if it was 65 or 73 ( Im Guessing 73), the Conductor was very shaken up and died of a heart attack the same day. ( Dont call me squeaky's dad)
  by BMC
I"m pretty sure JS was working 'A' that night, but is this MS or MO ? My memory won't let me recall.
  by LongIslandTool
That's MS.
  by March82
I was 17 years old in March of 1982, and knew almost everyone killed in that accident. In the following days, I attended 5 funerals. A decision was made that night that changed the lives of so many people. All of the teenagers killed were lovely people. Unfortunately, one teenager made a horrible decision, which was impaired by alcohol. His decision affected the lives of all those in the van, their families, their friends, and the conductor of the train, along with all those who witnessed the crash. It’s been almost 28 years, and it still seems like yesterday. As the parent of sons, I understand how teenagers don’t always think, and understand what their decisions may bring. This was a horrible loss for so many people, and it still breaks my heart to think about that morning after, receiving one call after another informing me of each of those who died, and looking into their parents' eyes and seeing that heartbreaking grief. I am grateful those tracks were raised, and I still cry every time I have to drive by that site. I hope that I can instill in my sons how precious life is, how drinking and driving can destroy lives so quickly. My heart goes out to all those families and all the men and women who were at that crash site. I can’t even imagine what the conductor had to live with after that. No one should have to bear those images, those memories. As an aside, the teenagers were coming from a party. The boy, whose house the party was at, was also killed in the accident. Hold your children tight, and teach them what horrors can result from drinking and driving. Parents should never have to bury their children.
  by Head-end View
March, your obviously heartfelt comments are valuable reading for us all. Being as we're on a railroading forum a little railroad education might be useful here. The person who operates the train and would have been most seriously affected by such a grade crossing collision is actually the engineer, not the conductor. The conductor (on a passenger train) is a uniformed crew member who rides in the front cars of the train collecting fares, supervising other crew members, and many other duties related to safe railroading. But the person at the controls in the locomotive or operator's cab is the engineer. Again, thanks for sharing your experience with us.