(Lovelock, Nevada – March 19, 2013)
An as-yet unidentified motorist was killed at about 3:46 P.M. Tuesday afternoon when his vehicle was struck by a westbound Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of UPRR tracks and Oreana/Limerick Canyon Road north of Lovelock, NV, near Interstate Highway 80.
Although Pershing County Undersheriff Tom Bjerke called the intersection a “marked crossing,” the sole “marking” present consisted of a pair of standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs. According to industry sources, the addition of active protective devices such as flashing lights, bells and crossing gates could prevent more than 90% of accidents such as Tuesday afternoon’s tragedy.
With what the Federal Railroad Administration says is a daily average of 16 trains, including Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Amtrak passenger trains, using the crossing at speeds as high as 70 mph, rural crossings such as the Oreana/Limerick Canyon Road-UPRR intersection are certain to continue their deadly records of highway vehicle/train collisions.