Rail/Highway Grade Crossing Accidents

Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) Cases

Past Cases

Video and Computer-Generated Animation


Skillset - Robert W. Halstead

IronWood Technologies, Inc.

Video and Computer-Generated Animation


IWT obtains broadcast-quality, vibration-free, gyrostabilized video footage from hyrail vehicles, trains, helicopters or fixed wing aircraft in all weather and lighting conditions.  Video footage is taken with a special lens arrangement to closely approximate the range of vision experienced by a motorist, locomotive engineer, or eyewitness.

IWT can direct reenactments of the events leading up to the accident, coordinating with railroad operations management to schedule crews, equipment and track necessary for the reenactment.  Video or film footage of the reenactment can then be closely matched to actual event recorder data from the incident to recreate as closely as possible what participants saw in the final moments leading up to the accident.  Sight distances can be measured and compared for both on-board personnel, bystanders, and victims.


A train headed by two General Electric 8-B40 locomotives approaches a grade crossing.  Overlaid on the animation is a computer-generated "dashboard" showing up-to-the-second data from the locomotive's event recorder.

A General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD) SW-1500 locomotive, computer-modeled in 3-D for use in an animated reenactment of a yard derailment.


In addition,

  • Computer-generated visual special effects can be used to recreate visibility impairments, including clouds, mist, fog, rain, snow and vegetation.
  • Entire segments from the event recorder data can be reconstructed using advanced computer animation techniques, allowing complex sequences of events to be easily viewed and understood.

  • Physical terrain can be scanned with a digital scanner or PhotoModeler, and the resulting point-clouds can be imported for analysis into a wide variety of computer animation software, producing an extremely accurate portrayal of the terrain at an accident location. This gives us the capability to evaluate sight distances up to and around fixed terrain, and precisely replicate crossing gradient and surface conditions.

  • Aerial photographs, aerial and ground video, and computer animations can be combined to show the circumstances behind the accident from any conceivable angle.

  • Still photographs can be subjected to computerized photogrammetric analysis, enabling distances to be measured directly from the photograph.

  • Video footage can be pulled into a computer, compressed, and written to DVDs for use in locomotive engineer training simulators.

  • Event recorder data from multiple sources can be correlated and used to reconstruct the incident. Examples on the railroad might be data from locomotives, field code units at interlockings, motion sensors and predictors at highway grade crossings, and data dumps from computer-aided dispatching facilities.


IronWood Technologies, Inc.

300 Sedgwick Drive

Syracuse, NY USA  13203-1315

(315) 424-2500



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