(Manchester, Pennsylvania – August 27, 2012)
The train carried the rig between 200 and 250 feet down the tracks to the crossing of Front and Maple Streets and NS tracks, destroying both it and its payload before coming to a stop. Paramedics treated the driver at the scene. The truck was headed to the Georgia-Pacific Corp. a few yards away. The train, meanwhile, consisted of three locomotives and 41 empty freight cars bound for Enola, PA.
The Walnut Street/Norfolk Southern intersection is “protected” only by a set of standard, passive signs which give absolutely no warning of oncoming trains. It lacks completely any active protective system like flashing lights, bells or crossing gates even though a fatality occurred at the same crossing several years ago.
The truck’s fuel tanks ruptured, spilling nearly 100 gallons of diesel fuel and another 150 gallons of hydraulic fluid but officials claimed to have contained the spill prior to it reaching nearby Manhattan Creek, which subsequently flows into the Susquehanna River.
Neighbors to the crossing area were considerably alarmed by the accident, as Tiffany Freyser explained that “It sounded like somebody screaming. We were actually sitting inside with our son when this horrific noise occurred. It’s the sound that you know what is going to happen with that train,” she continued. “It gives you chills still.”
“It was like a booming noise,” recalled 17-year-old Kayla Leahy who lives nearby. “And it made our dogs cry.”
“I heard the train coming, and I heard the crash and I told my wife “he hit something,’” said Russell Grim, another neighbor. “You could tell – you knew something was in the road.”
The semi “took a substantial hit from the train,” said Mount Wolf/Eagle Fire Company Chief Ryan Brenneman. “The train was moving approximately thirty miles per hour so there is significant damage done to that vehicle. The driver of the tractor trailer was very lucky that he didn’t sustain any injuries from this,” he concluded.