SunRail examines changing timing of railroad crossing gate amid school bus concerns

- Cell phone video captured a  Seminole County School bus full of children, just a few feet away from a moving SunRail train.   In the video, you can see the front of the bus is in front of the gate arms that came down right on top of the bus.

“It was at that point it looked like it was going to get hit,” said Theresa Phinney.

Phinney’s son shot the video.  Her grandson goes to Longwood Elementary where the 20 students on board the bus were headed Wednesday morning.

“I had like goosebumps seeing it and it was like I couldn’t believe that bus was that close to a train,” Phinney said.

FOX 35 took the video, and Phinney's concerns, straight to the Seminole County School District.  The safety manager said, after seeing the video, they're launching an investigation.  He says the driver appears to be caught off guard by the crossing arms coming down. 

“She waited for nearly two minutes and then after two minutes the arms started going back up, once she saw that it was at the raised position, she decided to press on the gas and cross the tracks,” said Bryant Rivera with the Seminole County School District.

But as she tries to cross the arms quickly came back down, the district wondered if there's a glitch at the crossing, so we took that concern to SunRail. They say there’s no glitch, but they may need to keep the crossing arms down longer. The district is still deciding if the bus driver will face any disciplinary action.

“In hindsight we would have preferred that she not move at all, knowing that the train was there,” Rivera said. “We’re going to re-route her to a different street.”

District transportation officials are also alerting the other bus drivers to the issue. 

“I think they ought to go through some more training with all their drivers to let them know, especially where you can physically see where the train is stopped at the station right there,” Phinney said 
 

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