(Williams County, North Dakota – April 3, 2023)
Two North Dakota teens were killed when their vehicle was struck by a high-speed Amtrak train shortly after 8:00 pm on Monday evening. The collision occurred at the unguarded BNSF railroad crossing on 54th Street Northwest just south of Springbrook, North Dakota.
The high-speed Empire Builder Amtrak train was traveling in an eastbound direction when it struck the vehicle that was also traveling in a generally eastbound direction. The crossing where this collision occurred is owned and maintained by BNSF. The two train tracks intersect 54th Street NW at a skewed angle.
According to BNSF submitted records, the crossing where this collision occurred accommodates a daily average of twenty-four trains with a typical speed of 60 miles per hour. The crossing where this collision occurred is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that the addition of lights and gates could have prevented this tragedy. 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 North Dakota Highway Patrol is still investigating this collision.