Stuck on the Tracks
On October 9th 2013, a trucker in Midland Texas got his truck stuck on the tracks. News reports say that he evacuated his vehicle which was soon after hit by a train.
The video of the crash, captured by a hand-held camera, shows the truck on the tracks as a train approaches. The train then strikes the trailer, sending a load of pipes into the air and dragging the trailer the length of eight or nine train cars before the video cuts off.
The Texas Department of Public Safety office in Midland says that the Union Pacific crossing at County Road 1130 is off-limits to vehicles with low ground clearance, and the trucker should not have taken the vehicle across.
“Lowboys have a different route they need to go through,” she said. “I don’t know why he went through that route. His lowboy was going to get stuck. From what I was told, he went over and it got stuck, it high-centered, and he just couldn’t get it out. The train was coming and basically he just jumped off the truck and got out of the way. No one was hurt, thank God.”
The incident was the third grade-crossing crash in Midland in the past eleven months. With so many incidents in such a short time it leaves many asking , "Do we need more adequate signage on these types of crossings?" Some have stated that the government should fix all the gradient crossings to make them more trucker friendly while others think that the truckers just ought to know better.
Regardless of what should be done or not be done, what do you as a trucker do when you are stuck on the tracks? Oddly enough I have been in this situation and there were in fact NO SIGNS in that situation.
What do you do when your stuck on the tracks?
- Evacuate the truck ASAP. Take with you your permit book (if its within reach), wallet and phone.
- If there are any crossing arms or signs, there will be a small sticker on the side with a phone number to call the controller to prevent any trains from hitting your truck. CALL THIS NUMBER NOW! If you can't find this sticker CALL 911 and ask for help. They may have local contacts that can help get you off the tracks and they should have the railroads number on file.
- Call your dispatcher next and let them know what is going on. Keep it brief. They will try and contact the railroad company also and then contact a wrecker to get you off the tracks.
- Stay Calm and be patient. After this all you can do is wait.
Note: You will still need to contact the rail company afterwards so that they can come and inspect the track for any damages. De-railment of a train is not a good thing...