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Faded signs replaced at crossing where 4 died

THORSBY (AP) — A railroad has replaced the broken, faded warning signs that marked the crossing where a train collided with a van last week, killing four people and injuring four others.

The Clanton Advertiser reported that workers from CSX Corp., which operates the tracks beside U.S. 31, took down the old X-shaped markers and replaced them with reflective signs, making it easier to see the crossing at night.

A CSX train struck a van loaded with eight men in the predawn hours last Thursday, killing four on the way to construction jobs. Relatives of the victims complained that the crossing was not adequately marked.

Family members of the victims have placed flowers and wreaths at the site since the crash. Four men remain hospitalized in Birmingham following the accident, and the bodies of the four men who were killed are still at a funeral home in Clanton while officials complete the paperwork required for sending them to their native Veracruz, Mexico.

"It will be next week before they can fly," Yancey Mitchell of Hillside Mortuary said in an interview Wednesday.

CSX spokesman Gary Sease said the railroad is paying funeral expenses for the men and assisting their families in returning the bodies to Mexico.

"Our people are working hard to make that happen," he said.

The crash site was just outside the Thorsby city limits, and Mayor Tom Bentley said the town is continuing in its efforts to get signals and arms installed at the five rail crossings inside the city.

"We're just going to see just how much will come out of our meetings last week," Bentley said.

Police said 10 accidents have occurred at the seven railroad crossings in Thorsby over the last five years, including one that killed two men in a tractor-trailer.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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