(Paynesville, Minnesota – November 22, 2014)
Two people died Saturday afternoon at about 3:16 P.M. at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of 182nd Street Northeast and Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks about two miles west of Paynesville, MN. Their vehicle was traveling north toward the junction of Minnesota Highway 55, which closely parallels CP railroad tracks, and 182nd Street, NE, when it was struck by an eastbound CP freight train.
Kandiyohi County Sheriffs Dept. authorities at first could not release the names of the two victims, pending notification of next of kin. However, they were later identified as Charles Vadner, 52, the driver, and Nathan Bahner, 23. Both were from Paynesville, but any relationship between the two was unclear.
Assisting The Kandiyohi Sheriff’s officers in their investigation into the tragedy were the Minnesota State Patrol, the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, and the Paynesville Police, Fire and Ambulance authorities.
The crossing, which is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, also has a large cornfield in the southwest quadrant of the road/rail intersection that blocks the sight triangle for vehicles approaching from the south, thus hampering the view of trains coming from the west. Some 20 CP trains, operating at a maximum allowable speed of 40 mph, cross 182nd Street NE, which is just across the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line.
It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident would not have happened. Both Canadian Pacific 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 accidents by as much as 96%.
The freight train was traveling from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to St. Paul, MN, according to CP spokesman Andy Cummings, who also said that the locomotive engineer both blew the train’s horn as well as placed it into emergency braking mode, but did not elaborate on where the train was in relation to the crossing when the actions were taken.