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The National Transportation Safety Board yesterday announced the steepness of the road grade and the angle of the intersection at a passive grade crossing contributed to a fatal collision between a dump truck and an Amtrak train in Mendon, Missouri, last year.
The June 27, 2022, accident resulted in the deaths of the truck driver and three Amtrak passengers. An additional 146 passengers and crew members were injured, NTSB officials said in a press release.
The collision occurred when the truck crossed over rail tracks without stopping at a stop sign and cross bucks located at the grade crossing. The truck was struck by an approaching Amtrak train. Both locomotives and all eight rail cars derailed.
NTSB investigators determined the steepness of the road grade in this instance was 13-times the maximum slope recommended by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), making it difficult for a truck to accelerate through the crossing if it came to a complete stop as required by Missouri law. Additionally, the angle of the intersection was 30 degrees sharper than the lower limit of the range recommended by AASHTO.
"The safest rail grade crossing is no rail grade crossing. But at the very least, every road-rail intersection should have an adequate design to ensure proper visibility so drivers can see oncoming trains," said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. "Communities across the country deserve safer crossings so these types of accidents don’t happen again."
The crossing has been closed. In addition, the Chillicothe city officials, in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Transportation, and Chariton County have developed a plan to close several other passive crossings and redesign local roads to direct traffic through active crossings, NTSB officials said.
The NTSB’s final report on the accident can be read here.