Showing posts with label Grade Crossing Incidents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grade Crossing Incidents. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29, 2018

POTD - Main Line Steam at LaSalle

John Hill captured Union Pacific legend No. 844 as it crested the slight grade at LaSalle, Colorado, on her speedy way from Cheyenne to Denver on Thursday, July 19, 2018, to pick up her passengers for the Cheyenne Frontier Days special. Since its revival in 1992, the Denver Post has chartered the special to haul nearly 800 passengers from Denver over the Wyoming state line for a day of catered meals, dancing, live music, socializing, and games, and that's just the fun onboard. There's still a rodeo to watch when they get there!

Photo of the Day: John Hill

Union Pacific 844 leads diesel 1943, The Spirit, an SD70ACe painted in a unique livery celebrating the nation's armed forces and its 5 branches. The diesel commemorates a U.S. Army Air Corps B-17 bomber, The Spirit of Union Pacific, purchased in 1943 by employee war bonds to support America's winning role in World War II.

The CFD Special would not complete this year without incident. On July 21st, two days after this photo, the train clipped a woman standing too close to the rails at a crossing near Henderson, killing her on impact. Her death halted the train and passengers were bused from Henderson to Denver 2 hours later. On its site, Union Pacific requests the public keep a minimum distance of 25 feet away from any track. ⚒

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Sign Using LED Tech To Grace Colorado Highways

Photo: CTC, Inc.
Railway Age says that Colorado's Department of Transportation has purchased new LED-lit warning signs to call highway drivers' attention to railroad grade crossings. A CDOT spokesman is quoted in the article:
"Any tool that we can use to save lives is a welcome addition to our transportation tool kit," said CDOT Statewide Utilities Engineer Mat Flores. "The flashing lights disrupt a driver's expectations and should draw his or her attention to the crossing, resulting in a significant safety benefit."
CTC, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas, provides communication and signaling systems, products and services for the highway and rail, specializing in highway-rail grade crossings that are interconnected with traffic signals.

LED-lit signs do make it harder for drivers to ignore them, but I wonder whether this is just another sign (ha!) that our society is suffering from "warning fatigue."◊

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Follow Up: 17 Year Old Severely Maimed In Near Fatal Stunt

Anna Beninati, the 17 year-old student who followed her friends in a near-fatal attempt to hop a freight train and fell beneath the wheels of the rolling train, suffering two severed legs, has survived and by all I can tell, she has begun rehabilitation in Utah, her home state.

Monday, September 5, 2011

17 Year Old Girl Severely Maimed In Near-Fatal Stunt

Editor's Warning
This news article describes the real-life, violent injury of a person. Reader discretion is encouraged.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Amtrak Resumes Zephyr Service, ...Sorta

Since the accident last week, Amtrak hasn't been running the California Zephyr, owing both to the accident and damage from the floods further east. Today, Amtrak resumes service from Ft. Morgan west to the end of the line in Emeryville, California.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Railroad Yards Contain Locomotives, Rolling Stock, and Danger

BNSF Police
shoulder patch
As a railfan just 15 years ago, it was hard for me to appreciate the railroads' point of view when it came to allowing access to their yard. I can remember at least one encounter when, looking into a railroad policeman's eyes, I could tell what frustration and anger my "idiocy" had caused. Moments before, I felt I was safe because it was a hot summer day and no one was out there making any moves. No one except the police man, I found out. His face reminded me of how my father's looked when I had one time wandered into danger. I didn't enjoy either experience.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cab And Trailer Utility Truck Split Decision At Ft Lupton

On April 13th, a construction worker at the Ft. Lupton Vestas plant drove his utility truck into the path of an oncoming Union Pacific container train. Jose Lucio was making a turn on an unfamiliar crossing and did not completely clear the grade crossing before the rear of his truck was caught by the lead unit. The train was traveling 50 MPH, but took only 1,000 feet beyond the crossing to come to a complete stop. John Carr of the Ft. Lupton Press covered the accident and the construction company's personnel cleaning up the resulting destruction of the truck.

John Carr, Ft Lupton Press

Friday, December 18, 2009

Train Strikes Private Bus In Colorado Springs

According to KKTV 11 News, a private tour bus belonging to the Canadian rap group Swollen Members was smashed by an oncoming freight train last night as it was stuck on the tracks.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Runaway Rail Car Rolls Through Arvada

What happens when you mix morning rush hour, a carload of plastic pellets, no brakes, and Arvada's finest? One wild ride!

Apparently the fun started just before 8:04 a.m. Thursday morning when calls came in to the Arvada police about a runaway freight car. According to the Denver Post, the car reached 40 miles per hour as it rolled out of control on the BNSF railroad tracks west of Denver. With that speed and with the car being so short, the gates at the grade crossings never descended or signaled approaching traffic. The car could have easily struck a car or pedestrian, or several, if any had been in the crossing at the time the car quietly rolled through.

As it was, Arvada police tried to get to the crossings in time to protect the intersections. Whether it was the police or the work of an angel or two, thankfully no one was injured and no railroad traffic was threatened. A BNSF  switching crew was in the area at the time and BNSF's team is investigating the incident.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

UP 1989 Assists In Nuclear Fuel Drill

Union Pacific helped Denver Fire and other emergency services in a drill yesterday. The drill involved a truck striking a person and a train carrying a container of spent nuclear fuel. Sharp eyes will spot UP 1989, the Rio Grande heritage unit, on the head end. Denver's channel 7 news has the story.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tanker Driver Burns Locomotive To A Crisp

Colorado Railroads does not cover every grade crossing incident, but we can't ignore stuff like this.

According to the only surviving Denver newspaper, the Denver Post, a tanker truck in--where else?--Commerce City tried to beat the train and tied-lost. As a result, 5,200 gallons of ethanol were spilled, producing a fireball that was captured on private surveillance cameras. The truck, the switcher and pretty much everything at the crossing were burnt crisper than a tortilla chip and a total loss. The three men on the locomotive had injuries and a nameless driver for Roger Morris Trucking Co. escaped unharmed.

On further examination, the railroad involved was not indicated, but the switcher was a formerly cascade green Burlington Northern EMD SD road locomotive. The accident appeared to be a spur in the vicinity of the UP/BNSF crossover for the two lines northeast out of Denver, CP DS902 UP Junction.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Media Relations On Cumbres Pass

A man believed to be an employee of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a suspect in an assault on a Valley Courier reporter Wednesday. What could have precipitated this?

Apparently, it's a traffic accident. A truck and trailer tried to sneak past the C&TS train bound for Chama, New Mexico on a foggy afternoon, and the trailer of the truck was clipped. Engine 484 had minor damage, and the passengers were bused back to Chama. When a reporter from the Valley Courier started poking around and taking pictures, the last thing he might have expected to see was fireworks.

Draw your own conclusions from the article, but I'm wondering why would someone from the railroad deny that any accident happened twice and then take a cheap shot at a photographer? Business may be down, but that's not how you handle media relations, unless you're Sean Penn.

Let's see what develops.

Update 6/17/09
It seems like whatever did happen, the reporter blew things out of proportion when he wrote the story (linked above). According to Westword,
...It was a pretty wimpy punch," he [Winget] concedes. However, at the urging of Valley Courier publisher Keith Cerny, he reported the incident to the Conejos County Sheriff's Office due in part to what it symbolized. "It was an assault against newspapers and the freedom of the press,"...
It isn't the first time a person has cited their first amendment rights after they've annoyed people and gotten a sour response. If the reporter had been injured, or if there was a concerted effort to suppress a story, it might have actually been newsworthy. Up to now, all that's been injured is a reporter's ego and a publisher's notion of superiority.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grade Crossing Accidents Claim Two

Two grade-crossing accidents in Colorado exactly 36 hours from each other claimed the lives of two men. That's where the similarities of the two end.

The first accident happened Tuesday December 2nd at 12:45 a.m. in Mesa county near Clifton, CO when 28 year-old Aaron David Rudder of Grand Junction was struck near a grade crossing by a Union Pacific train bound for Provo, UT. The train went into emergency but was unable to stop before colliding. Rudder was last seen at a bar about a quarter-mile from the scene where he had drank a pitcher of beer. He had refused a ride home from the bar owners. His remains were scattered by the accident and it's believed he died instantly. He leaves behind a wife of three months.

The second accident happened Wednesday the 3rd at 6:45 p.m. in Denver at 66th and Franklin Street where Jerry Rivera, a 33 year-old switchman for the Denver Rock Island shortline railroad was riding the end of a local freight train backing through the crossing at 5 m.p.h. when a Freightliner semi rig entered the intersection and pinned Mr. Rivera between the railcar and the rig. He died at the scene, leaving behind a wife and three daughters. The driver of the semi was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The grade crossing is marked by crossbucks, but no lights or gates.

Two lives cut short at Christmastime. Both accidents were preventable by safety precautions that were ignored. It didn't have to end this way, but it did. Our prayers are with the families affected by these accidents.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rocky Ford Grade Crossing Claims Three

Two teenaged sisters and their grandmother were killed when they drove in front of a BNSF freight train in Otero County here in Colorado on Friday evening. According to the Denver Post article, Trooper Gilbert Mares of the Colorado State Patrol said that Devonna Griffin was driving a blue Dodge Durango north on Otero County Road 20.5 about a quarter mile east of Rocky Ford at 4:49 p.m. when the train struck the vehicle. Driver Devonna Griffin, 17, front-seat passenger Krystal Griffin, 19, and back-seat passenger Joan Griffin, 66, were all killed in the accident.

According to a more detailed account in the Rocky Mountain News,
The SUV was hit on the driver's side, which sent the vehicle spinning counterclockwise. The vehicle went off the east side of the roadway and came to rest on its right side, facing southwest.

The train was a local BNSF freight working out of Denver, crewed by three employees based out of La Junta. None of the crew were physically harmed.

The reason for the driver's failure to yield to the train is still under investigation, although at least one article interviewing the victims families posits a few theories. US Highway 50, the main highway in the area runs parallel to the tracks just north of the grade crossing. It could be possible that the most inexperienced driver of the three victims ignored the crossing because she was approaching the highway, a danger perceived by the young driver as more imminent or more threatening.

Whatever the reason, the tragedy is that three women lost their lives in an accident that could possibly have been prevented by railroad crossing lights and arms. This same grade crossing claimed the lives of two men earlier this year and Otero county officials prioritized the crossing for the improvements. In fact, one report presented that Otero County had taken delivery of such safety devices but had not installed them. The improvements will come next year, too late for the three victims this weekend, and not soon enough for the other residents of Rocky Ford.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bum Luck

Emo Phillips once said that some days it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps. I'm sure he was thinking of this guy. While the first incident--finding himself the victim of a hit-and-run--might not have been his fault, the second--getting run off a railroad bridge by a passing train--would definitely find him culpable.

Just another case of trying to beat the train and losing. Hope this guy has better luck in the future.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pedestrian Struck By BNSF Train in Ft. Collins

BNSF and Ft. Collins Police are reporting that a man was apparently run over by a train and is in serious condition at a regional hospital. What the man was doing on the rails (adjacent to a city park) and the man's identity are both still unknown.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Man Killed On Road Grader Struck by Train

Only a few days after the Operation Lifesaver specials pulled through Colorado, a Weld County employee on a road grader was broadsided by a Union Pacific freight train in Ft. Lupton, Colo. While the wheels from the grader stayed at the impact scene, the cab was picked up and shoved by the train for 300 feet, at least by one account. Doug Wigham, 30, was thrown from the cab and died at the scene.

If the accident happened at the intersection of CR-6 and the railroad, that crossing is a dirt road (thus the grader) and was protected only by crossbucks.

Say a prayer for the crew and the family of the deceased.