POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – Growing concerns over the safety of South Florida’s new high-speed rail has prompted several members of Congress to ask the transportation department to investigate.
Footage of people walking along the tracks with a train nearby or going under a lowered gate have Brightline officials cringing.
Already, the high-speed train has hit five people, including three in the last couple of weeks.
One was ruled a suicide, one was called an accident and three were people who did not obey the signals, according to police.
Brightline is pushing a message of safety.
“We need to amplify that message about safety,” said Brightline CEO Patrick Goddard at a news conference on Friday. “And to encourage all members of our community to obey the bells, lights and gates and to never try to beat a train.”
Now there’s a growing list of politicians calling for a safety review.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson is the latest saying, “I join with Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson in calling on Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to conduct a thorough investigation into the fatal accidents.”
Congressman Ted Deutch also wants to see a federal review and get safety recommendations.
“This is something they deal with nationwide,” Deutch said. “We should use the best practices from other places around the country to take the precautions necessary both to prevent accidents like these and raise awareness.”
Some in the community think people just aren’t used to the train’s speed yet.
“I think it’s they don’t realize how fast that train is coming,” said Fort Lauderdale resident Willie Snell. “And they used the regular freight trains and Tri-Rail coming through and they can just run across but they don’t realize this train is a super fast train.”
As part of their safety push, Brightline has people standing at busy train intersections on the weekend passing out information.
They also put signs up at busy crossings warning there are more trains.
Snell would like to see signs that give a bigger warning.
“Or put up signs that tell people, ‘look, this train is traveling, this train will be here in 39 seconds, this isn’t a regular train. You should really not cross the tracks,’” Snell said.