Monday, July 11, 2011

The Train in Maine Goes Mainly Up In Flames

2011-07-11 12.20.33
(Photo: Me)

I'll get to this in more detail in the future, but I wanted to let you all know about our adventure today. I'll let the fine reporters at the Portland (ME) Press-Herald fill you in:

Downeaster, truck collide in 'fireball'
NORTH BERWICK — A Downeaster train with 109 passengers aboard slammed into a trash-hauling tractor trailer at 11:05 a.m. today, killing at least one person.

The driver of the truck died in the collision, said Cliff Cole, a spokesman based in Amtrak's New York office. Some of the train's 109 passengers were injured, but it's not clear how many or how seriously they were hurt, said Steve McCausland from the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Justin Nelson, 24, of Los Angeles, was traveling on the Downeaster with his wife as part of a cross-country rail tour when "we drove through what looked like a fireball."

"We were just sitting there, running along, when all of the sudden, the train started violently shaking," Nelson said. "Then there was fire all around us. There was lots of screaming."

At the scene of the collision, heaps of trash covered the gravel alongside the tracks for several hundred feet. Various other charred debris smoldered amongst the garbage. The locomotive and at least one passenger car were still aflame more than an hour after the crash, according to eyewitnesses.

To answer your questions: We are okay, and are presently sitting in our hotel in Bar Harbor. In fact, there were no serious injuries on the train. The engineer and conductor were treated for smoke inhalation, and one passenger complained of a head injury. All were released from the hospital today.

And yes, I'm getting a copy of that newspaper.

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