Spurred by the deaths of three teenage boys on the train tracks in a 24-hour period in 2011, the state Department of Transportation and NJ Transit redoubled safety efforts.
The agencies extended fencing, stepped up patrols and placed new warning signs at stations. They increased education in schools and filmed hard-hitting public service announcements, one of them bluntly titled "You’re Dead."
They even took to social media, targeting kids and adults alike with the message that a train is a brutally efficient killer.
But more than a year after that safety initiative was launched, the deaths continue to mount. Worse, they have accelerated.
The 4:55 p.m. train pulls into the Plauderville station in Garfield. Alex Remnick/The Star-LedgerTwenty-three people have been killed on tracks shared by NJ Transit and Amtrak this year, setting a pace that could make 2013 New Jersey’s deadliest year on the rails in decades.
The eight-month total, bloated by 10 deaths in July and August, already has eclipsed last year’s 22 fatalities. Since 1990, deaths on NJ Transit’s system have climbed above 30 just five times, with a high of 34 in 2010, agency records show.
Behind the surge are suicides, which have steadily increased even as accidental deaths have declined, the records show. Just two of this year’s fatalities have been labeled accidents. Four have yet to be classified. The rest are considered suicides or possible suicides.
It’s a problem railroads...
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