Posts Tagged ‘grade crossing accidents’

Cardinal Passengers Ride Bus After Train-Truck Crash

December 24, 2019

Passengers aboard Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal on Monday finished their journey by bus after the train’s route was blocked in Lafayette, Indiana, by a grade crossing collision.

Lafayette police said a semi struck a southbound 133-car CSX train at the Wabash Avenue crossing before 5:30 a.m.

The crossing remained closed for 13 and a half hours as workers cleaned up spilled grain and diesel fuel.

The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene. Police said they do not believe that drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor to the collision.

The driver told police he was unable to stop his truck in time to avoid the collision. He was headed northbound on Wabash Avenue at the time.

Amtrak Train No. 51 was terminated at the station in Crawfordsville, Indiana, located 27 miles south of Lafayette.

Passengers were loaded aboard four buses with three operating non-stop to Chicago and one bus making all local stops.

No. 51 was running 26 minutes late when it reached Crawfordsville. The Cardinal is scheduled to arrive in Crawfordsville at 6:48 a.m. and at Lafayette at 7:36 a.m.

Grade Crossing Crash Derails Amtrak’s Illini

July 30, 2019

A truck driver was killed and Amtrak’s southbound Illini derailed after a grade crossing collision Sunday afternoon in University Park, Illinois.

Two passengers aboard Amtrak Train 393 were taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries.

The train was reported to be traveling at 70 mph when it struck the truck at 5 p.m.

The lead Charger locomotive and five cars derailed. The train had 300 passengers and five crew members.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the crossing gates appeared to be working at the time of the crash.

The derailment blocked the Canadian National mainline and Amtrak’s southbound City of New Orleans was canceled as was the Monday morning departure of the southbound Saluki.

The northbound City terminated in Carbondale, Illinois, on Monday and passengers were taken by bus to Chicago or their intermediate stations.

The City departed as scheduled on Monday night. Also operating as scheduled on Monday were the southbound Saluki and northbound Illini.

Agencies Launch Grade Crossing Safety Campaign

April 23, 2019

Two federal agencies have launched a railroad grade crossing safety program.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are spending $5.6 million to urge motorists and pedestrians to be more careful at grade crossings.

The agencies noted that last year grade crossing accidents resulted in 270 deaths.

Of those 99 were killed after a motorist drove around lowered crossing gates, which the FRA said was the highest number of such fatalities in the past decade.

The campaign, which will run through May 12, includes a video on digital and social platforms, radio advertising and social media messages.

Advertisement are being targeted to high-incident communities in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.

Trial Begins in Case of Truck Driver Struck by Amtrak Train that Carried GOP Congressmen in January 2018

February 25, 2019

A Virginia court began hearing evidence on Monday in the trial of a truck driver charged in connection with a Jan. 31, 2018, crash involving a chartered Amtrak taking Republican members of Congress to a political retreat in West Virginia.

Dana William Naylor Jr., the driver of the truck, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and maiming while driving under the influence in connection with the incident that left one passenger in the truck dead and another seriously injured.

Prosecutors said in court that Naylor drove the truck around downed crossing gates on tracks operated by the Buckingham Branch Railroad near Crozet.

Albemarle County assistant commonwealth’s attorney Juan L. Vega said in his opening statement that Naylor was impaired by THC, typically derived from marijuana, at the time of the collision.

Vega said that after the collision Naylor told EMTs called to the scene that he had tried to beat the train and that “his life was over.”

Defense attorney William Tanner countered that the crash was a “horrible tragedy,” but that Naylor had not tried to drive around the crossing gates.

Rather, Tanner said, the crossing gates came down on the truck as it passed over the crossing and that Naylor panicked when he was unable to drive around the gate on the other side of the crossing.

Tanner contended that video evidence of the collision will support that argument and that Naylor’s conduct was not a crime.

During Monday’s proceedings, three witnesses testified about Naylor’s behavior at the scene of the collision after it occurred.

EMT Emma Freeauf said she treated Naylor who repeatedly asked about the condition of his coworkers.

She also testified that Naylor said he “tried to beat the train” and that the collision “was all his fault.”

Nayor and the two other men in the truck, which was hauling garbage, were all employees of the same company.

No one aboard the chartered Amtrak train, which was following the route used by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal, were injured.

No Injuries, But Long Delays in Train-Truck Crash

December 12, 2018

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited races through Berea, Ohio, in suburban Cleveland just after sunrise on Wednesday. It was delayed more than four hours after hitting a truck in West Virginia on Tuesday.

No injuries were reported after Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Capitol Limited struck a dump truck on Monday afternoon in West Virginia.

The incident occurred about 5:35 p.m. at a crossing near Ranson, West Virginia, when the truck stalled on the CSX tracks at Charles Town Road and Luther Jones Road.

The train was carrying 108 passengers and crew members. The truck driver jumped before the collision and was not hurt but was shaken up.

Witnesses said the impact split the vehicle in half. “You heard the brakes pull, there was a loud screech, and then the train slowly came to a stop,” said passenger Michael Malloy said. “Then probably five minutes later, over the intercom we heard the train was going to be stopped.”

Lead P42DC No. 162 suffered severe damage in the collision and its fuel tanks were ruptured.

Officials at the scene were quickly able to contain the spill.

Railroad workers set the lead Amtrak locomotive aside and the train continued to Chicago with the trailing unit, No. 62, pulling.

No. 29 was delayed for four hours and was on the move by about 9:30 p.m.,

However, the train incurred additional delays, particularly while traveling on Norfolk Southern tracks west of Cleveland.

No. 29 arrived in Cleveland at 7:33 a.m. down 4 hour and 40 minutes.

But that ballooned to 7 hours and 40 minutes by the time it halted at Chicago Union Station at 4:25 p.m.

Driver of Trash Truck Struck by Amtrak Special in Virginia Indicted for Being Under the Influence

June 8, 2018

The driver of a trash truck that was struck, by an Amtrak special in Virginia in January has been indicted for being under the influence at the time of the collision.

The Amtrak special was carrying dozens of Republican congressmen to a retreat in West Virginia. One employee of the trash-hauling company died in the collision near Crozet, Virginia.

The Albemarle County Police Department said in a statement that 31-year-old Dana W. Naylor Jr. was indicted on one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of maiming another while driving under the influence. It’s not clear what the alleged intoxicant was.

A second passenger of the trash truck was seriously injured. No one aboard the train suffered serious injuries.

Truck Driver Ignored Warning Gates Before Crash

February 22, 2018

An on-board camera has shown that the garbage truck that was struck by an Amtrak special on Jan. 31, had entered a grade crossing after the crossing gates had gone down.

The National Transportation Safety Board said this week that the forward-facing camera showed that as the crossing came into view, the gates were down and the garbage truck was on the tracks at the grade crossing.

The NTSB said that witnesses to the crash reported the truck had entered the crossing after the gates were down at the crossing near Crozet, Virginia.

The special was carrying Republican members of Congress to an annual political retreat at the Greenbrier resort hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

A passenger in the truck was killed and another suffered serious injuries. The truck driver came away with minor injuries.

Three Amtrak crew members and three passengers also suffered minor injuries.

The preliminary NTSB report said that the crossing has advance warning signs and pavement markings on its approach. It is equipped with crossbuck signs, warning lights, bells and gates.

The collision caused the front axle of the lead P42DC locomotive to derail, although it remained upright.

The NTSB will later release a finding of probable cause and issue safety recommendations.

Crossing Gates May Have Malfunctioned

February 3, 2018

The grade crossing gates in Virginia where an Amtrak special carrying congressmen to a political retreat struck a garbage truck on Wednesday may have been malfunctioning at the time of the collision, NTSB investigators have said.

The investigators told reporters that several witnesses have come forward to say that there had been “issues” with the gates in the days before the incident.

The collision occurred on the Buckingham Branch Railroad near Crozet, Virginia. One person inside the truck was killed. None of the congressmen, their aides or family members was seriously injured. They were en route to a Republican conference being held at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The NTSB said that the chartered train was traveling at 61 mph at the time of the accident, which is slightly over the 60 mph top speed for that section of track.

The NTSB investigation is expected to take up to two years to complete.

Man Killed in Amtrak Crash Identified

February 1, 2018

The person killed when a chartered Amtrak train carrying Republican congressmen on Wednesday struck a garbage truck in Virginia has been identified as a passenger in the truck.

Authorities said the victim was Christopher Foley, 28, of Louisa County, Virginia.

A second but unidentified passenger in the truck was airlifted to University of Virginia Medical Center with critical injuries, the Abermarle County Police Department said in a statement. The truck’s driver was listed in serious condition at the hospital.

The UVA Medical Center said it received six patients from the incident in Crozet, which is located about 13 miles west of Charlottesville. The train had Amfleet cars and P42DC locomotives on the front and rear.

The hospital said one of the patients it received was in critical condition, one was in good condition, three were still being evaluated and one had been discharged.

The National Transportation Safety Board had a team of investigators on the scene by Wednesday afternoon.

NTSB member Earl Weener said investigators wouldn’t speculate on any possible cause of the incident, which Amtrak said occurred at 11:10 a.m. on the Buckingham Branch Railroad. The line is used by Amtrak’s tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal.

Earlier reports said about 100 GOP lawmakers, their aides and families were aboard the train en route to a political retreat being held between Wednesday and Friday at the Greenbrier resort at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The retreat, which will continue in modified form, was to have a visits from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Weener said the NTSB will work with representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

He said that Pete Kotowski, a senior highway safety investigator for the NTSB, will be in charge of conducting the investigation.

Weener said investigators initially will focus on the collision site.

“Over the next few days our investigators will work on the scene to document the crash site and gather factual information,” Weener said. “Our mission is to understand not only what happened, but why it happened and to make recommendations to prevent it from happening again.”

He said that investigators will not seek to determine the probable cause while on the scene of the crash.

Weener did say that NTSB investigators will use a number of “factor groups” to analyze the collision site, including human, highway, vehicle, motor carrier and survival factors.

The human factors group, he said, takes into account the potential responsibility of the train engineer, including the operator’s background, licensing, experience and level of training as well as the possible influence of alcohol or drugs.

NTSB officials will attempt to recover recording devices located in the lead and trailing P42DC locomotives.

Weener said there is no evidence that the collision was the result of an attack of some kind.

“The NTSB does safety investigations so the fact that we are here, the presumption is that it was an accident,” Weener said. “Should we find anything that indicates differently, we’ll immediately involve the proper authorities.”

Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds said it was premature to offer specific comment about the incident, but did say that accidents at rail crossings are far too common.

In a news release, Amtrak said it will in the coming days continue to work with the NTSB, law enforcement, Operation Lifesaver and other stakeholders to reduce the frequency of these accidents.

“This is an opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of exercising caution around railroad rights-of-way,” Leeds said.

The passengers aboard the train were taken by bus to the Greenbrier and by early afternoon the train had been taken to Charlottesville.