Railroad News

Montana Tractor Driver Killed and Amtrak Passengers Injured in Collision at Non-Gated BNSF Crossing

(Bainville, Montana – May 29, 2020)

The operator of a tractor hauling a crop sprayer died Friday at about 10:40 AM, MDT when his vehicle was struck by Amtrak’s “Empire Builder” passenger train. The collision occurred just west of Bainville, MT in Roosevelt County at the non-gated crossing of Highway 2. The victim was operating a John Deere  model 4940 tractor. He was said to be a 65-year-old resident of Sidney, MT. At least one Amtrak passenger and two crew members were also reported injured as a result of the collision.

According to railroad-supplied information housed by the Federal Railroad Administration, the non-gated crossing allegedly handles very few trains, but adjacent crossings see a daily passage of as many as 28 BNSF freight and Amtrak trains at a maximum speed of 79 mph. No prior collisions were reported at the non-gated BNSF crossing.

While parts of the train caught fire, the flames were quelled by passengers and crew using on-board fire extinguishers Some reports said all 10 cars of the train were derailed.

Amtrak passengers were taken to Culberetson, MT High School to await transportation and accommodation of their travel routes.  The 10-car train, with several of the cars derailing but remaining upright, was bound from Seattle to Chicago with 69 passengers and 7 crew on board.