The Latest: Neighbor: Crossing arms not working properly

AP News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2018 5:02 PM
The Latest: Neighbor: Crossing arms not working properly

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the accident involving a train carrying lawmakers to a policy retreat in West Virginia (all times local):

5 p.m.

A man who lives near the railroad crossing where a train carrying Republican lawmakers struck a garbage truck says the crossing arms have not been working correctly.

Benny Layne said the truck landed on his property Wednesday after it collided with the Amtrak train near Crozet, Virginia.

Layne told The Associated Press that he has recently seen lines of cars stopped at the crossing, with the crossing arms lowered even though no train was approaching. He said motorists would get out of their cars to help guide other motorists around the malfunctioning arms so they could cross the tracks.

Layne says he has seen the arms stay down for hours. He also says he saw a man examining the crossing arms this week.

CSX Transportation owns the tracks where the crash occurred. Buckingham Branch Railroad leases the tracks and is responsible for maintenance, signaling and traffic dispatching on the line.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham said she was not aware of any problems with equipment at the crossing but referred questions to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash.

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3:30 p.m.

The railroad crossing where a train carrying Republican lawmakers struck a trash truck is equipped with two advance warning signs, two roadway gate arms, two mast-mounted flashing lights and a bell to warn of an approaching train.

Those details are included in a U.S. Department of Transportation Inventory Form dated Jan. 3 describing the warning system at the crossing near Crozet, Virginia.

According to the report, three freight trains pass through the intersection during the day and two at night, on average. The report says passenger trains don't go through very often — an average of less than one per day.

The maximum speed for trains crossing the intersection is 60 miles per hour.

One accident report filed by CSX Transportation in 1999 said a train hit a vehicle that was stuck between the rails at the crossing. No injuries were reported, but there was damage to the train's engine and the vehicle, which was driven by a 70-year-old woman who got out of her car before the train hit.

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3:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he has spoken to House Speaker Paul Ryan after a train carrying Republican lawmakers to a retreat hit a truck on the tracks in Virginia.

The president says in the Oval Office that the lawmakers are "doing pretty good" and are "proceeding with their conference." Trump says he was told "it was a pretty rough hit."

The White House says one person was killed and another was seriously injured after the chartered train struck a garbage truck.

Trump is planning to address the Republican lawmakers Thursday at the conference at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

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Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee was injured Wednesday morning when a train taking Republican members of Congress to a retreat hit a garbage truck in Virginia.

The Tennessean reports that Fleischmann said in a phone call from the scene, where he was being treated for his injuries, that he was on his way to the restroom when the crash occurred. He said he was thrown around upon impact and suffered neck, back and foot injuries.

Fleischmann said he was in a "bit of shock" and significant pain.

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2:30 p.m.

Staff members say Rep. Jason Lewis of Minnesota has been taken to a hospital after being injured in a train accident in Virginia.

Members of his staff tweeted that the first-term congressman was being checked for a possible concussion after the Wednesday crash.

Officials say the train was carrying Republican lawmakers from Washington to a retreat in West Virginia when it hit a truck on the tracks near Crozet, Virginia.

The White House is confirming one fatality and one serious injury after the chartered train hit a garbage truck.

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2 p.m.

Amtrak says two crew members and two passengers have been taken to a hospital with minor injuries after a train crash in Virginia.

Amtrak spokeswoman Beth K. Toll says the four were injured when the train hit a truck on the tracks Wednesday morning near Crozet, Virginia.

Police and a local hospital have given differing figures, but the reason for the discrepancies wasn't immediately clear.

The train was carrying Republican lawmakers to a conference at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The accident happened at an intersection that crosses the tracks at the top of a hill where visibility is limited. There is a train arm at the crossing.

Crozet is a small town west of Charlottesville, which is home to the University of Virginia.

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1:55 p.m.

The organization that's hosting a retreat for congressional Republicans says the event will go on with an adjusted program in the wake of the train accident carrying participants to a West Virginia resort.

The Congressional Institute says the decision was made after consulting with Republican leaders.

The White House is confirming one fatality and one serious injury after the chartered train hit a garbage truck.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says there are no serious injuries among members of Congress or congressional staff.

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1:15 p.m.

A congressman on the train involved in an accident on its way to a GOP retreat in West Virginia says three lawmakers who are doctors tended to crash victims.

Rep. James Comer of Kentucky says the collision destroyed a garbage truck, leaving it "just in pieces."

Comer says Reps. Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio came to the aid of crash victims before emergency personnel — including a transport helicopter — arrived.

The train was en route to a conference at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and hit the truck in Crozet, Virginia — which is near west of Charlottesville.

Comer says lawmakers, spouses, and aides had been on the train for about two hours when suddenly there was a crash. The impact made him jump out of his seat.

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12:40 p.m.

An Amtrak spokeswoman says a train has come into contact with a vehicle on the tracks in central Virginia — the same area where members of Congress are reporting their train struck a truck.

Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods says there are no reported injuries to passengers or crew members after the incident that happened around 11:20 a.m. in Crozet, Virginia. Crozet is about 15 miles west of Charlottesville.

Woods says the train originated in Washington, but she couldn't confirm that members of Congress were aboard.

She says local law enforcement is investigating and crews are inspecting equipment for damage.

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12:35 p.m.

The White House is confirming one fatality and one serious injury after a chartered train carrying Republican lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says there are no serious injuries among members of Congress or congressional staff.

Sanders says President Donald Trump has been fully briefed on the matter and is receiving regular updates.

The train carrying the lawmakers hit a garbage truck south of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Lawmakers are heading to their annual legislative retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia