(Euless, Texas – November 21, 2018)
Barely three months after two truckers were killed and over 40 passengers and crew members were injured in a similar crash, another Trinity Railway Express train has collided with an 18-wheeler. This time a train collided with a tank truck filled with liquid asphalt, at the lighted, gated, but questionably designed crossing of TRE tracks and Calloway Cemetery Road in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Euless, TX. The collision occurred at about 5:30 AM, CST last Wednesday morning.
On the day before Thanksgiving, six non-fatal injuries were sustained, and only one of the half dozen hurt was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, TX. The others were treated at the scene by first responders and paramedics.
Calloway Cemetery Road and TRE tracks cross at a severe angle, and the seemingly hap hazardous placement of the gates and lights lend themselves to driver confusion. Witness Eduardo Navarro, who works for a contractor located adjacent to the rail crossing, told Fort Worth Star-Telegram Reporter Domingo Ramirez Jr that the road/rail intersection is “dangerous”.
His sentiments were reiterated by truckers who regularly cross the former Rock Island/Burlington tracks now owned by the transit authorities of both Dallas and Fort Worth. Truck driver Raymond Quinones told the FWST reporter that he has experienced near misses with trains there. “When the lights come on, you only get 10 seconds before the train arrives. You’ve got seconds to make a decision.”
Another truck operator, Michael Castillo was equally critical of the crossing. “They’ve got to do something about this,” he told the newspaper reporter. “This is a dangerous spot.”
The truck overturned and was leaking some of its flammable commodity, causing shutdown of both road and rail movements as well as consideration of disruption of nearby industries and businesses.
The Calloway Cemetery Road/TRE crossing serves an average of 80 trains daily, including TRE and Amtrak, which travel at a maximum speed of 79 mph. Other rail users of the crossing are freight trains operated by Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and the St. Joseph, MO headquartered Herzog Transit Services, Inc., which operates the TRE line under the contract of co-owners Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Fort Worth Transit Authority.
Federal Railroad Administration files say Wednesday’s accident was the eighth collision between trains and motor vehicles – mostly trucks – at the Calloway Cemetery Road/TRE crossing, and that these crashes have resulted in three fatalities and nearly 50 non-fatal injuries to drivers, passengers and railroad employees since the FRA began keeping such statistics in the 1970’s.
Since the crossing is physically within a small portion of Fort Worth which juts out into Euless, TRE and other transit authorities will meet with Fort Worth city officials and other entities, possibly including the Federal Administration, in regard to both short and long term solutions to the crossing’s problematic past and foreseeable future on November 28.
Trinity Metro spokeswoman Linda Thornton told the media that short term solutions could include reducing train speeds or closure of the crossing, while a long-term fix might be a complete redesign of the road/rail intersection.
Thornton added that one of the factors of the crash was that a portion of the tanker was trapped on the tracks when another 18-wheeler stopped in front of the liquid asphalt hauler.