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Mother Fights For Safety One Year After Amtrak Train Struck, Killed Teen

MIDDLE RIVER, Md. (WJZ)--A year after a teenager was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Middle River, her mother continues to fight for safety around the tracks.

Suzanne Collins explains a high school is near the rail line and there's concern students might use it as a shortcut.  

Wednesday marked a year since Tara Stickel lost her daughter Anna in a horrifying accident on the Amtrak line in Middle River. The 14-year-old student missed a bus and walked instead on the rail line.  She was struck by a speeding train.

The mother has been fighting ever since for improvements that would prevent a similar accident in the future. But she feels little has been done, even though Amtrak says it's continuing to meet about what can be done.

"It's very frustrating," said Tara Stickel "What we're asking for is not unreasonable. We want to help kids. We want to keep kids safe. That's not unreasonable."

Stickel proposed a crossbridge but says she was told it was too costly. The wires ran too high and private property would have to be purchased. She asked for a better fence.

"There's holes, gaps in it," Stickel said. "It's falling down in places, further down Orems Road, there's no fence at all."

Amtrak says it has repaired holes in the fence around where Anna died six times in the last year and monitors it for vandalism. More warning signs went up.  But building a new fence could also be prohibitive.

Anna's family noticed Wednesday about seven trains going by every hour.  They're going fast, over 100 mph, and they're also very quiet. They thought that young people could be surprised if they're walking on the tracks.

Despite an educational assembly at the school, Anna's brother says he can't believe some people still cut through, not realizing the risk.

He says he's trying "to stay strong for my mom because she's taking it the hardest of anybody," Mike Stickel said.

Amtrak says it has held 10 train safety assemblies at schools near its tracks between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. since Anna's death.

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