On Monday morning, a BNSF freight train in Mendon, Missouri collided with an ATV that was stuck on the tracks, resulting in a fiery and mangled mess. The incident occurred at approximately 8:40 a.m. at the intersection of the tracks and Mike Road, just north of Mendon in Cheriton County. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries, and the cargo load remained undamaged. However, both the train engine and the ATV sustained significant damage.
According to the Missouri State Police, images posted by them revealed the extent of the wreckage. The train engine was covered in black soot, while the ATV appeared as a mangled ball of metal, with barely intact wheel hubs and roll bars. The BNSF train was utilizing rails shared with Amtrak, and as a result of the crash, potential delays were anticipated throughout the day.
Remarkably, this particular incident occurred along the same stretch of rails in Mendon where a tragic train crash unfolded just over a year ago. In June 2022, an Amtrak train collided with a dump truck, resulting in the locomotive flipping onto its side. Tragically, this incident claimed the lives of four individuals and left over 140 others injured. The train had been en route to Chicago, Illinois from Los Angeles, California when the derailment occurred.
Authorities determined that the dump truck, which was transporting material for an Army Corps of Engineers project, had been struck from behind by the train. This collision compromised two locomotives, six coach cars, and separate cars designated for a cafe and baggage. The crossing where the crash took place was classified as a passive crossing, lacking gates, bells, and warning lights that are typically present at active crossings. Instead, the crossing was equipped with a simple stop sign.
Over the years, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has advocated for the closure or conversion of certain crossings from passive to active. In 1998, the agency recommended the implementation of technology that could alert drivers when a train is approaching a grade crossing. In response to the Amtrak crash, state lawmakers approved $50 million in funding to upgrade railroad crossings. The Missouri Department of Transportation has plans to either close or update 47 passive public rail crossings across the state.
Despite the severity of the collision, no injuries were reported in the morning crash, bringing a sense of relief amidst the chaos. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, with authorities working diligently to determine the cause of the collision and prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.
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