(Winfield, Kansas – July 5, 2011)
A Winfield, KS bus driver for the Cowley County Council on Aging was injured about 10:4 0 A.M. Tuesday morning when his westbound bus was struck by a southbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train at a dangerous, unguarded crossing on BNSF tracks in northwest rural Cowley County, KS.
Donald L. Atwood, 71, who drives for the agency which provides transportation services for the elderly, was the only injury as his empty bus was heading to pick up passengers. The crossing is equipped solely by a railroad crossbuck sign and has no electronic warning of approaching trains.
The bus was virtually destroyed by the impact, which leaves the agency with only 2/3 of its bus fleet left at a time when severe 100+ degree heat necessitates vehicles with good air conditioning, as the vehicle was the best one the agency had for its use. Although the crossing (122nd Road) is public, it is listed as private in the Federal Railroad Administration’s registry.