(Eau Claire, Wisconsin – September 5, 2018)
The driver of a truck contracted to carry mail for the U.S. Postal Service was killed instantly just before 6:00 A.M., CDT Wednesday. The mail truck was struck by a Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of UPRR railroad tracks and Hogarth Street in Eau Claire, WI.
According to Federal Railroad Administration records, a daily average of one train per day operates over the crossing with a maximum allowable speed of 25 mph. Wednesday’s train was said to consist of four locomotives pulling 78 cars, and measuring about 6,000 feet in length.
This crossing where this collision occurred lacked any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this would not have happened. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver all 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%.
Postal Service employees were out retrieving mail ejected from the fatal crash, and told news media that it was destined for mail boxes in four southern Eau Claire suburban areas.