Berkshire Line Project Halted After Worker is Killed

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. – A railroad project in Massachusetts has been shut down after an employee was run over by a piece of machinery.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has stopped trackwork on its Berkshire Line after an employee was killed, according to The Berkshire Eagle. It will conduct a safety review of the contractor, Middlesex Corp. Middlesex has worked with road infrastructure throughout New England and down in Florida as well as some projects for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA). 

At the time of reporting, no details were given for the work done to the track on the Berkshire Line. However, there have been crews working to support “the heavy freight that traverses Berkshire County from Connecticut to Pittsfield.” And in March 2022, there was a Rail and Transit report that shows a contract for track improvements “to install 9 miles of continuous welded rail in Pittsfield, Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, and Sheffield.”

The incident on the Berkshire Line occurred after 10AM last Friday morning, and currently, the FRA, the NTSB, and Massachusetts state police are investigating the accident. 

When asked about safety standards for employees including “how much experience is required for railroad workers and how many hours this crew was working every day,” both the contractor and the Housatonic Railroad Co. (which runs freight on the Berkshire Line) did not respond. 

A preliminary report into the accident from the NTSB should be released in about 30 days, with reports from the FRA within six months. According to a spokesman for the FRA, William Wong, “railroads must submit their own reports about incidents within 30 days after the month in which they happen.”

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