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Signal At Wilmington Rail Crossing Where Woman Was Killed Failed Again, Town Officials Say

WILMINGTON (CBS) - The railroad crossing in Wilmington where a woman was killed by a train last month had "faulty operations" on Friday morning according to the town. However, the MBTA said the system performed as it was designed to.

The Wilmington Board of Selectmen says the crossing arms got stuck in the horizontal position across Middlesex Ave. at 12:19 a.m. Friday. A worker for Keolis, the company hired by the MBTA to operate the commuter rail, came by to repair the issue, according to the Board.

At about 6:44 a.m., as a commuter rail train was passing, the crossing arms failed to activate, the Board said. The town is now demanding action.

The MBTA said there was not a failure or malfunction on Friday, blaming melting snow piles and road salt as the reason the crossing gates were automatically lowered early Friday morning.

"From shortly after midnight until mid-morning, all trains came to a stop, approximately 50 feet before entering the Middlesex Avenue crossing," the MBTA said. "It's at this location where the train interacts with track circuits that trigger the lowering of the gates, allowing the train to roll through the crossing at a slow rate of speed."

The MBTA said the crossing was cleared of salt-filled water by mid-morning and trains returned to normal operation. "At no point today were the gates up while a train was travelling through the crossing," the MBTA said.

In January, 68-year-old Roberta Sausville Devine was hit and killed when the crossing arms failed to come down due to "human error." A Keolis worker was placed on leave after the crash.

The Board of Selectman said the MBTA's response to the fatal January crash "has been completely lacking" and they will be working with state lawmakers to hold the MBTA accountable.

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