An eastbound train passing through Milbank and a pickup truck towing a gooseneck trailer crashed this morning at 5:58 a.m. at Lloyd Street in Milbank. According to Kevin Schuelke, head of the Grant County Emergency Management program, the driver of the white Dodge crewcab was traveling south, but got stuck in the snow on the railroad tracks. Schuelke stated, “The driver of the pickup had rocked the vehicle back and forth in an attempt to get the pickup off the tracks, but was unable to remove the vehicle before he heard the train approaching.”
“The driver then abandoned the truck. The train, which, according to the conductor, was loaded with grain and traveling at 37 mph., collided with the gooseneck trailer. Another train stationed on the branch line at the same intersection was hit by the trailer during the collision. That train was a loaded coal train with 117 cars and two locomotives,” Schuelke said. The 116 car train hauling the grain had 23 cars derailed, tipped, and then folded like an accordion. The gooseneck trailer, which was empty, came to a stop at the bottom of the train car pile.
Neither the driver of the pickup nor the train conductor sustained any injuries. The pickup driver’s name has not been released. Grain could be seen spilled across the accident site and most city intersections crossing the railroad tracks were closed this morning. Some remain closed. Burlington Northern is in charge of the clean up, but Schuelke said the accident poses no threat to the community.
According to a Burlington Northern employee, it is too early to determine how many feet of track were uprooted, but prebuilt-tracks were trucked in to replace the damaged section and reopen the line as it serves as the main East-West rail line for Burlington Northern.