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Passengers could see truck was about to hit train

Staff Writers

October 12, 2013

Passengers onboard during Friday’s tourist train wreck said they felt a moment of terror when they realized a logging truck was about to strike the Cheat Mountain Salamande....

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Oct-14-13 3:23 PM

What is truth?

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Oct-14-13 2:12 PM

Lots of wrong information being reported on these comments as well as some statements in the news articles. First the D&GVRR has been operating over this crossing since at least 1999. Second their are standard advanced warning signs (round yellow RXR signs) prior to this crossing and modern red flashing warning signals on the crossing. (Law Enforcement reported that the flashing red signals were operating upon arrival at the scene) Highway traffic approaching this crossing northbound has very good sight distance if travelling at posted speed limit.(Truck was northbound) And the last time I checked both WV state law and federal law every commercial vehicle is required to stop at all railroad crossings!

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Oct-14-13 1:00 PM

C'mon, Seeker. Really give it to him. I haven't heard a BWAHAHA in hours. lol.

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Oct-13-13 8:12 PM

cyclops.........threats won't prevent me from commenting if I wish. You keep acting like the current administration does when they don't like what their opponents have to say. YOU are doing the threatening.........YOU better be careful.

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Oct-13-13 8:07 PM have NOTHING to go on. Keep on ranting...

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Oct-13-13 8:05 PM

Sooooooooooooo scared cyclops. You make me laugh. Grow up!

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Oct-13-13 5:43 PM

"TruthSeeker" I know exactly who you are hiding behind that "truthseeker" moniker ... you might want to check on the truth and validity of your comments and accusations before you find yourself needing to do so in court!

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Oct-13-13 9:58 AM

The truck drive was heading northbound on US 250, from Durbin towards Huttonsville. You can see the crossing for at least 800 feet in advance from that direction. A truck should have been able to stop in less than half that distance.

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Oct-13-13 9:33 AM

I have seen trucks pull across the tracks right in front of the train at the rock crushing plant on Rt 33. All the truck had to do was stall or the driver miss a gear and the train would have hit the truck. The company should direct the drivers to stop and let the train pass before entering the facility. The drivers do have enough sense to stop for on coming cars when the enter Rt 33 at Kelly Mountain so why they do not stop for a train I have no idea.

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Oct-13-13 9:27 AM

I have crossed these tracks often and that is why I slow down when I approach them. I drive all over the east coast and anytime I see black skid marks on a road I slow down and become more cautious. There are several places in the Elkins area that are an example of this. When coming from Kelly Mountain and making a left onto Isner Creek Road to take a short cut to Walmart you can see the black skid marks in the road so I am extra careful. If I was driving a large log truck and I lived in the area I would have slowed down every time I approached the railroad crossing. I know it comes up on you pretty fast when you are driving south so common sense would tell me to slow down. It seem that the driver did everything he could do to avoid the collision once he became aware of the problem. If he had lowered his speed before he got to the crossing things might be different. The speed limit is 55 mph on the road but to stop a log truck it takes much longer than a car.

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Oct-12-13 5:58 PM

A deer suddenly jumping out of the underbrush is a far cry from a huge slow moving passenger train at a train crossing. This could very well be a case of mechanical failure, but if it is not, and the driver was not unconscious due to a health related issue, then it is driver error. You have to be able to operate whatever vehicle you are in charge of in a safe and responsible manner. This includes accounting for a child running into the road, a deer darting from the underbrush, or a train at a train crossing. I think sometimes that the safety of those in rural areas is not viewed in the same manner as those in the suburbs. Surely one would not drive a 7000 lb truck through a neighborhood at a rate they would not be able to stop should something dart out in front of the truck or even be seen at a distance up the street. However the same does not hold true for the hills and hollers because many of those trucks are flat getting it.

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Oct-12-13 5:53 PM

Thank you joe for the remark about the black marks mark brady makes it sound like he seen the train and become a terrorist no signs of braking just put the warning lights around the turn would have prevented this

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Oct-12-13 5:48 PM

Well have lived here all my life I drive a truck for a living I also have almost hit that train and so have many othersyou see black marks on the road there all the time they even have made comments about some close calls that shows me how stupid and blind the state and railroad are need a better warning system or pull up the tracks but tourism rules spend some money and make it safe and as for no black marks its an 70000 lb truck they dont stop on a dime next time you try to stop your carwhen a deer jumps out maybe you will realize this

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Oct-12-13 4:26 PM

I find it difficult to find a way to blame the engineer or the train company in this instance. Lets take the train out of it. Say the truck was traveling exactly the same speed and velocity and there was no train. Instead, at the exact same distance a 3 year old child, YOUR 3 year old child wandered into the road. The truck would still not stop as it is not under control: whether it be operator error or mechanical error. I choose not to make judgement but there is a very narrow spectrum where the cause of this tragedy can be placed.

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Oct-12-13 4:09 PM

Very tragic. Glad it wasn't worse.

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Oct-12-13 3:24 PM

Prayers for the truck drivers family. SOme of us in WV are NOT hateful and disrespectful of people who've lost a loved one. Unfortunately there are people who THRIVE on chaos and stirring up trouble.

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Oct-12-13 3:19 PM you EVER wait for the FACTS before playing detective or lawyer???? Were you there? Then clam it; you are just 'guessing' and possibly guessing wrong!

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Oct-12-13 1:47 PM

Although the train tours were not scheduled on a daily basis they did occur during MANY days of the year ... not casting aspersions on the death of this driver ... but if you earn your living driving across these tracks MANY MANY times ... you should have at least had this fact in the back of your mind and slowed down before entering a blind curve ...

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Oct-12-13 1:39 PM

Yea, PCWVgal, some comments, like yours, sadden me also. What do you consider MANY in the 'MANY years since a train has used those tracks'??? I moved to the area in 2005 and have ridden the D&GVRR to High Falls using those tracks. The tourist trains run all summer & fall. As they do every year. If anything, it might have been five days since the tracks were used... assuming the D&GVRR did not have a Thursday train running! Yep, get some facts straight.

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Oct-12-13 1:11 PM

It saddens me to read a few of these comments. It is obvious that you are neither familiar with the scene of the accident nor driving a truck . First, let me say that the area is NOT well marked and that it has been MANY years since a train has used those tracks. Not only is there a downhill slope but also a blind turn before the tracks in a 55 mph zone. You don't know until you round the turn if lights are flashing and then only have less than 100 yards to come to a complete stop. According to witnesses, the driver tried to upset the truck to keep from hitting the train. I am sure he was aware brakes weren't going to help him at this point. Also, if you have ever ridden in a truck you would know there was no way he could hear the train over the engine brake. So, before you go pointing fingers and making assumptions, get your facts straight. Or rather, pray for his small children who no longer have their daddy and for his wife, family and friends that he left behind.

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Oct-12-13 12:40 PM

What does a load of logs have to do with the truck leaving no skid marks?

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Oct-12-13 12:23 PM

The trains that leave Elkins pass within seventy five feet of where I live in the summer. I can hear the horns blowing a couple of minutes before and after they make the Bowden Crossing. I have no idea why you would not be able to hear the extremely loud horns even if you were driving a large truck. It looks like the drive made no attempt to get off the road before the crossing or even slow down. The impact seems to say that he was going at a pretty good speed when he hit the train. There must be some reason why he was unable to stop his truck before he hit the train. I suspect it was one of several reasons including break failure or over heated breaks that could not stop the truck.

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Oct-12-13 11:20 AM

According to one of the very 1st eye witnesses & his photos there wasn't fog at the time of the accident & his photos showed steam still coming off the log truck when he arrived found the scene. The log truck driver had driven this route hundreds of times. Maybe his autopsy & the examination of the truck will yield some answers. 2 of the more injured train employees worked at getting injured passengers out before even realizing they were so injured. 1 of those 2 were is in Morgantown & as of last night they thought of sending the 2nd one there to be checked out.

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Oct-12-13 1:37 AM

A retrofit of tighlock couplers would have kept that coach upright. The knuckle is still closed in one of the photos meaning it lifted out of the other coupler and rolled. Many injuries could have been prevented by the coupler switch and the car would have not rolled.

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