Trains are up and running after Amtrak derailment

October 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's back to business as usual - freight and passenger trains coming and going. Were it not for the construction crews in orange-and the mangled equipment on the ground, it's as if nothing happened here.

The California Highway Patrol tells Action News the warning arms were down, the Amtrak passenger train was rolling through the intersection, when it was t-boned by the big rig. Dozens of people including the driver went to area hospitals with minor to moderate injuries.

Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle said, "The reality is this is an agricultural area. When we're in season the traffic peak increases you have drivers hauling, working long hours, 14-16 hour days and they're tired and they're on the road and it adds to the potential for accidents."

No one seems to know why it happens, but Monday's accident isn't the first. Back in 2007, two kids and two adults were injured after their car stalled on the tracks-at this very same intersection. And in 2008, a flatbed truck collided with an Amtrak train, none of the passengers were seriously injured.

An Amtrak spokeswoman says the only way to remove the potential for accidents -- is to raise the tracks, making the train go above ground, eliminating the place where train meets road. It's an expensive fix and Kings County leaders will tell you the timing isn't right for such a project.

Valle explained, "The fear is you take this same accident and you insert a high speed rail train at 220 mph and you add that - with high speed rail train do we walk away with zero deaths and low injuries like we did yesterday?"

BNSF owns the stretch of tracks at 10th and Kansas, and they say this crossing is typical of other rail intersections across the country.

As for the driver, investigators are still trying to get his account of what happened.


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