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Car and train crash on T line

| Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2003

A car and a light rail vehicle collided Tuesday morning at the T line's intersection with Rockwood Avenue in Castle Shannon -- a crossing where plans to install mechanized gates have been dropped.

Authorities said no one was injured when the motorist drove across the tracks at 9:20 a.m., despite the flashing red lights signaling an oncoming train. The car hit the outbound train, which contained the driver and four passengers.

The Rockwood intersection near St. Anne Catholic School was supposed to get a gated crossing as part of the Port Authority Stage II Light Rail Transit Project to improve service between the South Hills and Downtown.

However, gates at that crossing won't be installed due to budget constraints, said Port Authority spokeswoman Judi McNeil said.

The $386 million project includes rebuilding the Overbrook line, upgrading the Library line, building a park-and-ride lot in Bethel Park, purchasing 28 new cars and overhauling 55 existing cars, she said.

"We have to put a ceiling on our costs. There cannot be any cost overruns," McNeil said.

While plans for the Rockwood gates have been dropped, she said gates at other intersections are expected to be installed by the time the Stage II project is completed in June 2004. Along the Overbrook line, the Killarney Drive, Grove Road, Sleepy Hollow Road and Poplar intersections each will have gated crossings. So will Pleasant Street at the intersection with the Library line.

The gate at Rockwood was dropped after officials determined it had the least amount of traffic.

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