Saturday, September 18, 2021
Sept. 18, 2021

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Coal train hits abandoned vehicle in Vancouver

Vehicle's driver traveled alongside tracks for 1 mile before getting stuck

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

An abandoned vehicle was struck by a train Sunday morning in a restricted area of a BNSF Railway line in Vancouver. Nobody was injured.

It appears that the vehicle used a railroad crossing near Wintler Park to turn onto the rail line, and drove west between two sets of tracks for about one mile, BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas said. It then became high-centered on some tracks, and the driver took off on foot, he said.

At 5:14 a.m., a westbound train hauling 124 cars of coal spotted the vehicle and unsuccessfully attempted to stop before crashing into it, Melonas said. The two workers on the train were not hurt, and the train was deemed safe to continue to British Columbia after stopping for some maintenance in Seattle, Melonas said.

The train was delayed for two hours while the vehicle was towed from the scene. Three other trains were also delayed, Melonas said. 

The track, part of the Columbia River Gorge route, was not damaged, he said. About 35 trains use that line daily.

Melonas didn’t know the exact model of the vehicle struck by the train, but said it was a smaller Honda. BNSF is working to determine whom the vehicle belongs to and what action the railway might take against its driver, Melonas said.

Columbian Assistant Metro Editor