New Video Shows Another Frightening Close Call With Metra Train After Gates Fail to Come Down in Time

An investigation has since determined three other trains encountered gate malfunctions that same day in Mokena

A frightening close call with a Metra train raised eyebrows last month when video showed a crossing gate failing to lower on time but an investigation revealed that wasn't the only near-miss that day and shocking new video has now been released. 

Just weeks after dashcam footage surfaced in Mokena showing a police officer swerving at the last second to avoid being hit after the crossing gates failed to come down in time, new video shows an earlier train encountered a similar situation - but the engineer never reported it to authorities. 

In fact, an investigation has since determined three other trains encountered gate malfunctions that same day in Mokena. Two of those incidents, however, were reported. 

"It's a topic of concern for us," said Metra CEO James Derwinski. 

The newly released footage shows an engineer operating a train at 48 miles per hour at 7:25 a.m. that morning, when Metra says gates went down just two second before the train hit the crossing, barely missing a vehicle. 

The scene was caught by cameras on the Metra train, which shoot 150 feet out from the front of the train. Numerous cars are seen crossing at the intersection just moments before the train approaches. 

By law, gates are required to be down at least 20 seconds before a train crosses. 

Roughly 20 minutes later, officials said the gates malfunctioned again, but this time they malfunctioned in the down position. 

Another 20 minutes later, an engineer operating a third Metra train reported the gates had "pumped," or started to go up as the train crossed but then went back down. 

Then came the final incident, which was captured on dashcam video and sparked an investigation into the problem. 

A Mokena police officer is seen in video driving down 191st Street when a Metra train suddenly comes out of the left hand side. The officer swerves left and jumps a curb to get out of the way.

It isn’t until the train is about half way through — the crossing gates finally begin to lower.

"Clearly it was concerning," Derwinski said. "It clearly was troubling. Safey is our biggest priority in the railroad." 

Metra said an electrical short in the system was to blame, giving a green signal to the engineer inside the train cab even though gates were malfunctioning. 

A new rule is now being implemented where trains that are allowed to pass a "stop" track signal are required to travel no more than 20 miles per hour (a restricted speed), giving the engineer "complete control of that train when they recognize something is going wrong with the gates." 

Metra noted that if the trains had positive train control, the safety system also wouldn't have allowed the train to go beyond the restricted speed and would have even stopped the train. It's a system they say will eventually be implemented. 

The transit agency said disciplinary action is being reviewed for the engineer who failed to report the first incident shown on video. Officials also said commuters witnessing crossing issues can report to 911 or the number listed on a blue sign at each crossing. 

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