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Howard County Leaders Want To Keep Trespassers Away From Train Tracks

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ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — As the investigation into a fatal train derailment in Ellicott City continues, county leaders are taking extra steps to make the train tracks safe.

As Gigi Barnett reports, the move starts with keeping trespassers away.

This week, federal investigators released 911 tapes into the Ellicott City train derailment that killed two college students last month. Buried under the powdered coal, investigators found the bodies of 19-year-olds Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr. They were sitting on the overpass bridge.

Now, as historic Main Street is back open for business, a temporary fence blocks trespassers and signs are up warning them to stay off the tracks.

“It sounds like a good idea if you want to keep people out,” said Josh Nickle. “It’s train tracks. It’s not something you want to play around.”

In the days after the derailment, CSX workers toiled to clean up the cars and coal, and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman pushed for stronger safety improvements to the tracks.

“If folks want to get on the tracks, unfortunately it’s tough to stop. We want to make it as difficult as possible,” Ulman said in August.

The National Transportation Safety Board says a preliminary report into the accident could be out as soon as next week, but the exact cause of the wreck is still under investigation. That report won’t be available for at least another 12 months.

The county says it plans to make the temporary fence and signs around the tracks permanent soon.

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