Railroad News

Driver Seriously Injured by Amtrak Train at Unmarked UP Crossing

(Ventura, California – April 22, 2013)

The lone occupant of a pickup truck suffered serious injuries Monday afternoon when an Amtrak passenger train travelling northbound on Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Ventura, CA at about 4:49 P.M. struck the westbound pickup at the completely unmarked, dangerous and unguarded crossing of a private industrial road near the intersection of DuPont Court and Goodyear Avenue in the industrial area south of Highway 101.

Ventura Police confirmed that the crossing did not have markings, let alone active protective devices such as flashing lights, bells and crossing gates, items railroads claim could prevent over 90% of train/vehicle accidents.

The victim was rushed to Ventura County Medical Center for treatment of multiple but undisclosed injuries. His pickup, meanwhile, received massive damage on the driver’s side and was listed as a total loss.

There was no indication that the Amtrak locomotive engineer blew the train’s horn as the train approached the crossing, but federal regulations do not require the sounding of train horns at private crossings, making travel across them even more hazardous.

Federal Railroad Administration records, which are generated by the responsible railroad and often are of questionable validity since there are few, if any, quality control checks of the system, indicate that 16 freight and Amtrak passenger trains travel through the Union Pacific Ventura corridor daily at top allowable timetable speeds of 55 mph.