Railroad News

Amtrak Strikes Dump Truck Stuck On Tracks By Stop Light

(Vacaville, California – August 1, 2011)

The driver of a dump truck hauling a large dump trailer was among two people injured in a collision at the Canon Road grade crossing of Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Vacaville, CA just after 8:30 A.M. Monday morning.

The second injury was suffered by the engineer of the Amtrak train that hit the truck as it waited for a traffic light to allow it to enter Vanden Road, a main thoroughfare that closely parallels UPRR tracks which carry numerous Amtrak passenger trains as well as Union Pacific freight trains each day. While neither individual was hospitalized, the accident pointed out the extremely poor design of the crossing itself.

Canon Road terminates just beyond the railroad tracks, with a traffic light controlling access to Vanden Road, and an approach to the highway barely long enough for an automobile, let alone a truck/trailer rig as was involved in the accident, exists. The dump truck’s dump trailer was still in harm’s way on the tracks as the train, travelling from Seattle with a final destination of Los Angeles, came along. Mark Manley, the driver of the truck, told authorities that he unaware his trailer had not cleared the railroad tracks and that he did not hear the train approaching until the collision occurred.

Manley said that when he stopped at the intersection, the crossing arms were up and no train was in sight. “I was looking both ways and when I pulled up (to the stop light) someone was honking. When I looked back in my mirror, I saw the crossing arm come down behind me, and I looked to the right and I saw the train coming,” he recalled. Regardless of the situation, Amtrak Spokesperson Vernae Graham not only claimed that the truck pulled out in front of the train, but also pointed out that there are gates and lights at that crossing.