By Juli McDonald

BRIDGEWATER (CBS) – A railroad crossing gate came down on the roof of a school bus moments before a speeding train rushed by in Bridgewater Friday morning.

Law requires vehicles to slow down near crossings, and to fully stop at least 15 feet from the tracks when the warning lights are flashing. But this scare happened during the busy morning rush, when traffic was at a standstill.

Those few seconds – heart-stopping – drivers in their cars frozen, as they watched the railroad crossing gate lower onto the packed school bus.

“The bell starts to ding, the lights are flashing, and the gate comes down,” said Jon Whynock who recorded video of the incident. “The bus gets stuck right at the edge of the tracks.”

A railroad crossing gate came down onto a school bus in Bridgewater (Image credit Jon Whynock)

Before the Commuter Rail train flew by Broad Street in Bridgewater, Whynock and others stopped in traffic had no way of knowing whether that bus sat it in its path.

“There’s nowhere to go. It’s bumper to bumper at that point. There was no room to pull up and there was no room to back up so the bus had to sit there until the train passed,” Whynock said.

And fortunately it did pass safely. No one was hurt. Whynock said the bus driver did appear to have opened her doors and looked down the tracks, but then the green traffic light turned red. Part of the problem was other cars were too close to the bus.

“I know if my child were on that bus I would want to know that that happened and I would want to know going forward what the plan is to prevent things like that from happening again,” Whynock said.

Whynock hopes the video he recorded will remind drivers just how careful and aware they have to be near train tracks and how quickly a situation could become dangerous.

Juli McDonald


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