An NJ Transit train struck a car in Middlesex Friday morning, killing two women in the car.
The accident happened just before 8:15 a.m. at the Cedar Avenue track crossing and involved Train #5711, which had just left Newark's Penn Station and was heading westbound to its last stop when the crash occurred.
The driver of the car was later identified as 73-year-old Florence Obado, of New Brunswick. The passenger was identified as 44-year-old Susan Mazurek, who lived nearby in the town. Both women died on impact.
The car the pair were traveling in was so badly damaged, it wasn't immediately clear what the make and model were.
None of the 30 passengers on the train was injured, nor was the crew. Circumstances of the crash remain under investigation.
Fifty-four trains pass through the Cedar Avenue crossing daily at an average speed of 60 to 80 mph, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Since 1978, seven people have been killed and one hurt, including the victims in Friday's crash, in train vs. vehicle incidents at the crossing.
The most recent death was in 2011, when a tractor-trailer stopped on the crossing. The track does have signs and signals, federal officials say.
Locals said that despite recently installed warning lights and traffic lights synchronized to stop cars from crossing, too many drivers still try to beat the train.
NJ Transit officials said all safety equipment — including the gate, lights and bells — were all in working order at the time of the crash.
It was not yet clear if Obado tried going around the gates or somehow got stuck on the tracks. Transit police are investigating.