(Dayton, Texas – December 17, 2019)
The driver of a cement delivery truck was among at least three people injured in a Tuesday afternoon collision with Amtrak’s New Orleans-bound Sunset Limited train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded Liberty County, TX crossing of Union Pacific rails and Farm Road 621. The train was carrying 90 passengers aboard at the time of the collision.
Tuesday’s crash occurred about 1:10 PM, CST, and was the first collision at that particular railroad crossing. The collision would have undoubtedly been avoided had the crossing been equipped with active warning signals, such as crossing gates and flashing lights. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Union Pacific, Amtrak, and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train collisions by as much as 96%.
The rail crossing is not only used by owner Union Pacific and Amtrak, but also by trains of both Kansas City Southern and Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Altogether, a daily average of 14 freight and passenger trains traverse the FR 621 crossing at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph.