Car Breaks Down on Tracks, Hit by Metro-North Train: MTA

A Metro-North train hit a car that got stuck on the tracks in Westchester County Wednesday afternoon, but no one was hurt, authorities and witnesses say.

MTA spokeswoman Nancy Gamernan said a car broke down on the tracks at the Green Lane crossing in Bedford Hills, between the Bedford Hills and Mount Kisco stops, at around 3:30 p.m. The people inside were able to get out before Train no. 222 from Grand Central Terminal clipped it.

"The ladies got stuck on the track, and instead of getting hit, they just got out of the car," said witness Jeremy Velazquez. 

Chopper 4 over the scene showed the front of the car smashed underneath the gate. No one was injured in the crash, the MTA said.

About 70 people were on the Metro-North train. Passenger Michael McMillan told NBC 4 New York over the phone that he felt "the rock of the train" when it hit the car, but he thought it was the normal motion of going up the track.

"I didn't really understand what happened until we stopped, and somebody said the train hit the car," he said. 

McMillan said emergency workers responded very quickly and that train staff was extremely communicative.

Neighbor Nick Magnetti said he saw fire trucks, ambulances and helicopters descend quickly on the scene. 

Another train arrived to bring the passengers to their destinations, and the Metro-North Harlem line was delayed about an hour in each direction as a result of the accident. It was back up and running by Wednesday night. Saw Mill River Parkway ramps in the area were temporarily closed as authorities responded.

The intersection has seen similar crashes in the past: there have been eight train-versus-car accidents there since 1982, one of them fatal in 1996, according to records from the Federal Railroad Administration. 

The state Department of Transportation made changes after the accidents in 2008, according to The Journal News, spending nearly $300,000 to reduce a hump in the road, add reflective markers and install pylons to prevent people from inadvertently turning onto the tracks. 

Magnetti said of the crossing, "That train track, I don't like crossing over... I've seen that probably five times, that people actually almost get caught as the thing is coming down. I don't think the warning system works well."

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, 97 trains pass the tracks each day, at speeds ranging from 40 to 60 mph. 

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