Zoo Train Derailment Update

New information has been released from the June 1 Louisville Zoo train derailment that left more than 20 people injured. Apparently the accident happened on the driver’s first day. The 18 year-old operator of the train had just begun driving the ride by herself.

The investigation to determine what caused the train to derail continues.

This accident is not the first time a train has overturned at the Louisville Zoo. Another accident happened during Halloween festivities in October 2007, when the front axle broke on one of the rail cars.

Boy On Bicycle Killed By Train

One boy was killed and another was hospitalized in West Virginia following a train accident. Authorities say a boy under the age of 14 was riding a bike near the Van Clevesville Road railroad crossing when he was hit by a train.

Authorities are still investigating the incident, but say the deceased boy was visiting from another area. The other boy was taken to the hospital. Police have not determined why the boys were on the track at the time of the accident.

MARC trains were stopped in both directions while crews cleared the scene.

Most passengers called for someone to pick them up. One passenger said, “I just want to get as far away from here as I can. I’m just sick over this. A child died.”

New York Train Derailment

A CSX freight train crossing Factory Street in Gouverneur derailed shortly after 1:00 p.m. June 19. A source at the scene indicated that the cars were loaded with steel inbound to Cives Steel in Gouverneur.

It appears the loaded cars were simply being moved to a different set of tracks in between Scotch Settlement Road and Factory Street when the derailment occurred.

A representative from CSX indicated that the 12-car train was serving local industry between Watertown and Gouverneur. CSX confirmed that the three derailed cars were bound for Cives Steel in Gouverneur and that a portion of the track was peeled over, though this could have been the result of the derailment and not necessarily the cause. CSX was still investigating the derailment.

This is the third derailment in St. Lawrence County in the last two months.

Family Members Promote Change After Deadly Crossing Accident

Sunday was the two-year anniversary of the crossing accident involving a stolen SUV full of kids that hit a train stopped on Archer Road in east Harris County near Baytown, Texas. Four teenagers died in the crash and family members of some of the victims are pushing for changes that could save others.

Some things at the intersection have already changed. A new crossing arm has replaced the old sign that was there, and better lighting has been installed.

It was a dark summer morning when the SUV packed with kids smashed into a Union Pacific train parked at the crossing. Loral and Macy Moyers were just two of four teens killed in that wreck. Their grandfather, Donald Moyers, is on a mission to promote train safety. “Any movement that I may start is not to hurt the railroad companies, but to help them,” Moyers said. Moyers would like to make trains more visible at night, proposing replacing current yellow markings on railcars with red ones signifying what he believes would be a clearer stop. “It should be horizontal,” he said. “It should be the length of every single car on both sides.”

Moyers also wants railroad companies to require these markings before any railcar is allowed on the tracks. It’s a goal he hopes prevents other people from experiencing his same kind of pain.

Union Pacific said the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sets guidelines for the markings and that each car meets those guidelines. They also say their thoughts and prayers are with the families of those four teens.

The driver, Bobby Davis, is serving eight years in prison for the crash. He pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter and is presently serving his time in a juvenile facility. When he becomes an adult, he will either be sent to prison or released on parole.

Louisville Zoo Derailment Train

At least 22 people were injured June 1 when the Louisville Zoo train fell off the tracks. Nineteen people were taken to hospitals, including one child who was critically injured, officials said. Another two people chose to seek medical attention on their own.

The train of open-air cars is pulled by a small engine and circles the zoo on two miles of track. The train was carrying around 30 passengers when three cars and the engine fell off the rails near the gorilla exhibit. One person was trapped then freed, zoo spokeswoman Kara Bussabarger said.

Seventeen children were taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital for treatment. Five adults were taken to University of Louisville Hospital, and spokesman David McArthur said all were in fair or better condition, and tha one might be admitted.

Dr. Neal Richmond, CEO and medical director of Louisville Metro EMS, said one adult had a possible head injury and was “a little confused initially” but was communicating and walking. Those injured were from 2 months old to senior citizens, he said.

Brian Rublein, a spokesman for Kosair, said in addition to the two children admitted to Kosair, three others were still under evaluation with the rest treated and released.

The train derailed around 4:30, an hour and a half before the zoo was scheduled to close, Bussabarger said. The train was behind the gorilla exhibit when it came off the tracks, she said.

Zoo officials said the train will be closed until further notice. Bussabarger said three Kentucky Department of Agriculture ride inspectors are investigating. The cause was not yet known, Bussabarger said.

The zoo train ride opened 40 years ago, Bussabarger said in a statement. The train that derailed was bought in 2000, holds 40 to 50 passengers and averages 12 miles per hour, she said.

Union Pacific Claims Cracked Wheel Caused Derailment

Union Pacific Railroad says a cracked wheel on a freight car caused a derailment north of Baker City, Oregon, on May 29. Cleaning up after the derailment stalled traffic throughout the region for a day and has continued to hamper traffic along U.S. 30 near Haines.

A railroad spokesman says wheels are inspected regularly, but if a crack starts inside a wheel it cannot be detected. Fifteen railroad cars derailed. The train was 136 railroad cars long. One derailed tanker car contained hazardous phosphoric acid residue, which was removed by a hazardous materials team. No hazardous materials were spilled and no injuries were reported.

UPDATE – ZOO TRAIN DERAILMENT

State investigators continue searching for the cause of the train derailment at the Louisville Zoo. One child, a 21 month-old, remains in serious condition.

Investigators spent Tuesday taking pictures, examining the scene and conducting interviews. The Department of Agriculture said the operator of the train was 18 years old. That is the minimum age for an operator in the state of Kentucky.

The train began operating in 2000. State officials said it passed all recent inspections. The last inspection was January 22, 2009. “State law in 2008 also requires the ride operator to inspect and test the ride everyday before its open to the public,” according to one official.

The train is still on its side, detached from its wheels, with wires and mechanics exposed as inspectors try and figure out how and why it jumped the tracks.

Passengers riding the train have their own ideas about what happened. “It started going a little fast through the tunnel and went around some curves and kept gaining speed, and they said the brakes went out, and then it just fell over,” victim Darren Bamforth said.

“We are going to do a thorough investigation. No matter how much time it takes to get to the bottom of what happened and why it happened,” said Ted Sloan of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Zoo officials said the train has a 35 point inspection everyday by the driver. The train is also inspected weekly by the Louisville Zoo maintenance staff.

Kansas City Southern Train Kills Father of Two

Ruben Lujan of Bruni, Texas is dead after being hit by a Kansas City Southern freight train. Lujan was traveling to a job site when the accident happened in the small town of Aguilares, 26 miles east of Laredo. He was driving a Toyota pickup and pulling a generator over the railroad tracks when he was hit on the driver side by the Kansas City Southern freight train.

“Well we saw the truck how it was damaged and the body was laying down on the ground. Its real tragic it so sad to see something like this happening,” said Hernandez, a family friend.

There are no gates or flashing light signals at the crossing. Hernandez believes it is the Railroad’s responsibility to install crossing arms and lights to warn drivers when a train is coming. “Just like any other place that have guards,” said Hernandez.

An employee with Kansas City Southern says the cargo train was heading west when it hit Lujan’s truck.

The Benchmark Distribution Company employee leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Authorities say Lujan was wearing a seat belt when the train hit him.

Kansas City Southern says the crew aboard the train was not injured and the incident is being investigated.