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Amtrak Train Strikes Truck in Neb.

June 17, 2002

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ASHLAND, Neb. (AP) _ An Amtrak passenger train struck a gravel truck Monday, cutting it in half before it burst into flames. Minor injuries were reported.

Midlands Hospital spokesman Tim Kaldahl said the truck driver, a train engineer, a passenger and a railroad worker were being treated for minor injuries. All were expected to be released Monday.

Amtrak officials reported minor injuries to six people, including the engineer. Details of the other injuries were not immediately known, said Kajal Jhaveri, an Amtrak spokeswoman in Washington.

The accident came a day after another Amtrak passenger train struck and killed a 78-year-old man who had driven around a railroad crossing arm near the northeastern Montana town of Nashua.

The California Zephyr that hit the truck in Nebraska had originated in Oakland, Calif., and was about 25 miles west of its next stop in Omaha when it hit the truck at a gravel-road crossing.

The truck’s trailer was thrown from the truck, and one locomotive was knocked partially off the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe track, which runs parallel to U.S. Highway 6, authorities said.

Officials did not know the speed of the train, which was carrying 230 passengers and 15 crew members aboard three locomotives and 29 passenger cars.

A New York City firefighter waiting in Omaha to board the train for home said he had decided to take an airplane instead.

``This was my first time on the train, and it will be my last time on the train,″ said Kurt Rehner, 40.

The name of the motorist killed in Montana was not immediately released. His car was struck broadside Sunday by the westbound Empire Builder. The train engine sustained minor damage, an Amtrak spokesman said. None of the 145 passengers on board was injured.

A freight train was stopped close to the crossing, waiting for the Amtrak train to go through, when the man drove his car around the crossing arms, the state Highway Patrol said.

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On the Net:

http://www.amtrak.com

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