(Shafter, California – May 13, 2022)
A recent collision left one person killed and three others injured after an Amtrak train struck a pickup truck around 2 p.m. on the tracks along Santa Fe Way between Orange and Burbank streets. The truck driver was identified as 51-year-old, Richard Christopher Young. The collision was so forceful it led the truck to burst into flames and drag several hundred feet along the tracks before coming to a stop. The Amtrak train was carrying 137 passengers and traveling southbound from Oakland to Bakersfield.
While there was no official statement on the cause of the collision, the pickup truck was assumed to have been stuck on the tracks. Amtrack explained that the train was traveling in a “push” mode where the train’s locomotive was at the rear of the train. The train was damaged by the smoke created by the truck. The passengers had to climb out of the train and wait to later be transported to the station. Three suffered minor injuries from the collision.
The incident occurred at the busy railroad crossing off of the highway in Bakersfield County. The intersection remains steady with around 28 trains traveling through the crossing daily. While there are lights and gates, there are no highway traffic pre-signals which are effective in decreasing collisions around highway-rail grade crossings.
Amtrak did not release any statements about the collision.