(Salem, Oregon – August 25, 2014)
The driver of a semi trailer truck loaded with cattle feed barely survived a crash between his 18-wheeler and a northbound Amtrak train with 280 passengers on board at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Duckflat Road SE near Salem, OR in Marion County at about 2:20 P.M. Monday afternoon.
Lynn Simonds, 64, of Salem, OR began crossing the road/rail intersection which he believed to be clear, was hit by an approaching train after he was halfway across the tracks and attempting, in vain, to clear the crossing. The crossing did not have any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, which most certainly could have prevented the collision had they been in place and operating properly. UPRR freight and Amtrak passenger trains cross the Union Pacific/Duckflat Road SE crossing at a top speed of 70 mph.
The design of the crossing is also poorly designed, as Duckflat Road parallels Union Pacific tracks, first on the west side and then along the east side, with two 90 degree turns necessary to negotiate any vehicle across the tracks. This would require an especially difficult maneuver for the operator of any 18 wheeler.