Railroad News

Semi Driver Hauling Wind Turbine Tower Injured by BNSF Train at Unguarded Crossing

(Ruthton, Minnesota – July 24, 2019)

A Vancouver, WA semi driver was injured and his expensive load heavily damaged after a collision with a BNSF freight train near the Pipestone County, MN community of Ruthton Wednesday.

Investigating officers did not specify the time of day the collision occurred.  The injured trucker, Travis Claypoole, was taken by ambulance to the Pipestone County Medical Center for treatment of his non-life threatening injuries. Claypoole was driving west on 201st Street when he encountered the southbound BNSF freight train.

According to news media and Federal Railroad Administration reports, the crossing of 201st Street and BNSF rails is crossed daily by an average of 14 freight trains in a 49 mph maximum speed zone. There are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates to warn motorists of oncoming trains.

The victim’s load was the expensively-designed and intricately-engineered base section of a windmill energy-generating tower. The load sustained severe damage. The train and the 2019 Peterbilt tractor/trailer both received moderate damage.

The truck driver was the lone injured individual. Amazingly, the collision was the first to occur at this crossing according to the FRA.