(Graham County, Arizona – November 4, 2011)
The driver of a pickup truck hauling a Holsum Bread trailer, delivering to area super markets, found his route significantly interrupted Friday afternoon about 5:22 P.M. when he failed to see an oncoming Arizona Eastern Railroad freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Barney Lane and AERR tracks about a mile south of Highway 70 in Graham County, AZ.
Driver James Watson, 38, of Pima, AZ, entered the crossing before he heard the train’s air horn sound, and, unable to stop, instead accelerated in an attempt to clear the crossing. The Barney Lane crossing has no electronic protective devices (lights, bells or gates), relying solely on passive railroad crossbuck signs to warn motorists of approaching trains.
The westbound train, traveling at 30 mph, hit the rear of the pickup truck, separating the truck from its trailer, and scattered cartons of Holsum bread across a large area before coming to a stop some 800 feet beyond the crash site.
The Ford F-250 pickup was flung into a trackside ditch, and the driver miraculously escaped injury. A 265-mile long short line railroad, Arizona Eastern is part of the Genesee & Wyoming group of short line and regional railroads, with acquisition by G&W completed Sept. 1 of this year.