Railroad officials are investigating a harrowing high-speed collision of a commuter train with a Fed-Ex cargo semi-truck Jan. 21 just north of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Video footage captured by a dashboard camera in a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction of the Fed-Ex truck shows the oncoming truck slowing as it travels over bumpy tracks. The arms of the railroad crossing gate are raised and no lights or other warning signals are activated. As the cab of the truck clears the track, a Utah Transit Authority (UTA) FrontRunner commuter train slams into the truck’s trailer, splitting the vehicle in half and sending packages and debris flying.
Incredibly, there were more than 80 passengers on the commuter train at the time, but nobody was seriously injured.
The Utah Transit Authority said in a news release that when there is a power outage or something wrong with the signal, the railroad crossing gates are programmed to go down and stay in the “down and active” position for safety purposes.
Apparently, that may be what happened in this case. The Utah Transit Authority said that severe snow and ice conditions that day caused the gate to successfully default to the “down and active” position. But after a railroad employee arrived at the location, the gates raised and remained in the open position, allowing the crash to occur.
Railroad representatives said that this collision was the first time UTA ever experienced an accident like that, and that it was committed to finding out what happened “to ensure it doesn’t occur again,” according to a release.
“UTA has initiated an investigation of all systems and is conducting interviews with employees to identify whether all protocols and procedures were properly followed to determine the cause of the incident and whether human error was a factor,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported, citing the Utah Transit Authority.
Sources: The Salt Lake Tribune