Halifax, NC: truck stranded for 15 minutes before it was struck by a passenger train

11 Mar

The unfolding investigation into the accident in which an Amtrak passenger train struck an oversized load tractor-traler combination is focussed on establishing why the train was not stopped short of the level crossing at which the accident occurred. This is a significant line of inquiry as reportedly the oversized load combo had been attempting to cross the railway for at least 15 minutes although a State Trooper escorting the oversized load said that the railway was obstructed for five minutes.

The accident which occurred at about noon on March 9th, 2015 derailed the locomotive and leading passenger carrying vehicles. However, there was no loss of life although more than 50 people were injured, mostly slightly. The truck concerned was being escorted by police as the outsize load carrying vehicle was 164ft (50m) long. It is reported that the truck was unable to clear the crossing at the first attempt and that it reversed at least once to try again.

It is to be established whether all permits necessary for the movement of the truck and its oversized load of a modular building had been obtained and whether in advance of such a permit being issued whether the risks associated with crossing the railway had been assessed and taken into account. Also, when the truck got into difficulties, what steps were taken to advise the railway of the obstruction. If the railway was informed, what they did to prevent a collision is also subject to federal scrutiny

The automatic half-barrier level crossing on which the collision occurred functioned correctly when the northbound train was approaching the level crossing, with the barriers descending onto the truck attempting to turn left across the railway on to a road leading to the I-95 freeway.. At this point, the truck driver jumped clear of his cab. Witnesses have said that other traffic on the highway running broadly parallel to the railway had built-up and prevented the truck backing-clear of the railway. The Truck was operated by Guy M. Turner Inc, a specialist in the movement of over-sized loads by road.


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