One dead after Amtrak train hits truck in Maine

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 11, 2011 5:34 PM
One dead after Amtrak train hits truck in Maine

BOSTON (Reuters) - An Amtrak train collided with a tractor trailer on the tracks of a railway crossing in Maine on Monday, killing the truck driver, an Amtrak spokesman said.

The incident was the second accident involving a truck hitting an Amtrak train in the last month. Six people died when a tractor-trailer rig barreled through railroad gates and into an Amtrak train in Nevada on June 24.

In the Maine crash, the Downeaster train 681 carrying 112 passengers from Boston to Portland, Maine was about 40 miles south of its final destination when the crash occurred in North Berwick, Maine at 11 a.m. local time, officials said.

Early reports indicate that the truck, which was hauling trash, was on the tracks as the oncoming train approached, said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole. Authorities will continue to investigate the details of the crash, he said.

"He had attempted to stop and left a couple of hundred feet of skid marks on the road," Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said.

At the crossing, the warning lights were flashing and the gates were down, he said.

"He clipped the gate. The cab of the truck was struck by the train engine," McCausland said.

A fire erupted in the lead engine after the crash, Cole said.

Emergency vehicles, including at least a dozen ambulances, rushed to the scene, authorities said.

Four passengers were treated for minor injuries, Cole said.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)