Warning Signals Eyed In Fatal GOP Train Crash

The Associated Press reports:

Benny Layne, on whose property the truck landed, said the crossing arms had been known to malfunction, sometimes coming down even though no train was approaching. Sometimes, he said, they stayed down for hours. He said motorists would get out of their cars to help guide other motorists around the malfunctioning arms so they could cross the tracks. “A guy was up here just yesterday or the day before taking a look at them,” he said.

Carrie Brown, human resources manager at Buckingham Branch Railroad, which leases the stretch of track and is responsible for maintenance, said she was unaware of any problems with equipment at the crossing. At a Wednesday night news conference, NTSB spokesman Earl Weener said signal experts would be looking at the safety of the crossing.

Authorities gave no details on the cause of the wreck, which took place at a crossing protected by gates, flashing lights, bells and warning signs. The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to investigate and would spend several days at the site, Weener said Wednesday night.

The New York Post reports:

The passenger of a garbage truck who was killed when an Amtrak train carrying dozens of Republican members of Congress slammed into it was identified as a 28-year-old Virginian. Christopher Foley, of Louisa County, couldn’t be saved, while the truck driver was taken by ground to the University of Virginia Medical Center with serious injuries, and the other passenger was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition, WTVR reported. Two Amtrak crew members also were transported to a hospital, along with two passengers. Their injuries were considered minor.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    It wasn’t signals, it was like attractions. The garbage truck was attracted to the train full of garbage.

    • Gustav2

      Just another pickup.

    • Steverino

      White trash representatives.

    • FancyThat

      Copy editors around the country need to take note: “GOP Train Wreck” is not only redundant, but also easily describes a dozen different stories in each daily edition. Be more succinct and precise.

  • Smokey

    Infrastructure week continues…

  • KarenAtFOH

    Lack of maintenance funding from the GOP leads to GOP train killing someone? There goes my irony meter out the widow.

    • cleos_mom

      But liberturdians would love the part about drivers getting out of their cars to help guide other motorists around the malfunctioning arms so they could cross the tracks. Small Gubber Mint.

  • bkmn

    I’m sure Trump will get right on fixing the infrastructure, by which I mean privatizing roads and other projects built with public money, selling them to his pals who will do an even worse job of maintaining them but will charge tolls.

  • Rex

    Damn Deep State crossing arms.
    And, not to be totally snarky, my heart goes out to the family of the young man killed, a tragic loss of life.

  • Rex

    They’ll spend millions investigating.
    But if the young man had been shot, not a dime would go to preventing gun deaths.

  • Pollos Hermanos

    It was the deep state and Hillary Clinton.

  • geoffalnutt

    The infrastructure of this country has been allowed to (even encouraged to) collapse.

  • kareemachan

    So…. thanx, repugs, for not wanting any money to go to making trains safer.



    I first thought this was about the state of our uniom.

  • 2patricius2

    My bet is that a malfunctioning crossing arm will have no more impact on the Republicant House members than the shooting of one of their members at a ball game. They will blame it on something else, and ignore the real problem. After all, they can’t pass legislation or authorize funding for something like this, when they have more tax cuts to pass for themselves and their donors.

  • DumbHairyApe

    Who needs safe railroad crossings when we can have tax-free PRIVATE JETS?!?!?!?

  • Paula

    The real reason for the crash was that Paul Ryan was in the engine doing Jell-O shots with the crew.

    • Talisman

      Jell-O shots or blow jobs?

      • Bluto

        Jello jobs.

  • Friday’s_cat

    If that’s the crossing where the garbage truck was hit the train was operating in push-pull mode or had locomotives on both ends. End coaches equipped with train control have collision posts built in but don’t offer crew protection like the locomotive.

    • Friday

      Unclear. Apparently the train was doing 70 and it would have taken some distance to stop. At a guess from that photo, that locomotive there might have been at the trailing end, but that wouldn’t make a lot of sense for those speeds. It could actually be a completely different train they had to stop there or something, or, it’s the one they unhooked so the train could continue on, brought back for investigators, etc etc.

    • Steven H

      I think the picture depicts the locomotive that hit the truck. They may have reversed the train to clear the intersection or something.

      The locomotive did take some damage, but not a whole lot. The train didn’t leave the tracks, and one corner of the train’s front end wasn’t damaged at all.

    • Professor Barnhardt

      There was a locomotive at the rear. The lead locomotive was Amtrak #145. The unit on the rear was Amtrak unit #4. The train was headed to White Sulphur Springs, WV. IIRC, there is no facility at WSS for turning a locomotive. I was thinking that maybe that the engine could get turned at Ronceverte, but I don’t see a wye there now. So the engine would probably have to run to Hinton. I’m not sure. My guess is that upon arrival, #145 would be taken off the train and added to the westbound Cardinal, #51. Then, when the train left WSS three days later, #4, on what had been the trailing end when the train was headed west, would already be in the lead, ready to take the train east, back to DC.

  • boatboy_srq

    So, “the crossing arms had been known to malfunction”?

    In other words, the GOTea Retreat Train was a casualty of Teahadi infrastructure parsimony?


  • Friday’s_cat

    The NTSB will be inspecting the locomotive(s) and coaches looking at control and brake hardware, testing the entire crew, and crossing signals to determine the cause. Meanwhile republicans will be engaging in fever dream speculation to divert attention from the looming Mueller indictments.

  • Boreal
  • MBear

    I missed that it was someone in the truck who got killed (figured he got out of the truck)

    Headlines should read, “Republicans murder innocent blue collar worker with train”

  • Hank


  • TheManicMechanic

    One vehicle was hauling refuse, the other was filled with garbage. Got it.

  • liondon#iamnotatraitor

    So the GOP cuts infrastructure funding and this happens …go figure.

  • kelven

    Derp State! Derp State! Hillobamabengazi!1!1!!!

  • BobSF_94117

    Can people stop making jokes about this? A man died and others were probably maimed for life.

    Go ahead and make digs at the GOP, but stop the chuckling about it.

  • Chuck in NYC


    F**king b*ast*rd. He and his GOP cohorts have as much blood on their hands for this as for all the gun deaths the last three decades.

  • EDinMCO

    Is it too soon to talk about railway safety and regulating train crossings?

  • Christopher Street

    A metaphor if I’ve ever seen one: A private chartered train full of Republicans slams into and kills a poor working class garbage truck worker. Kind of like the Rethuglicans in real life, just slamming into and killing the poor whilst they bask in splendor that other people have paid for.

  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    Clearly it was White Jesus telling them that they must redouble their efforts to roll back marriage equality, the right to choose, Brown v. Board of Education and the 14th Amendment. To really drive his point home, White Jesus killed the truck driver, to show that he means business.

    • misterjack

      Nope. Jeeziz meant to smite the evil Rethuglicans but the Rethugs had all sold their souls to the Debil, who saved them…for now…

  • Robert Adams

    Don’t race trains to crossings. There may be a tie.

  • JWC

    I am surprised that the GOP has not concocted some story that the truck driver was not a cousin to a Ranking DNC member and this was a plot

  • coram nobis

    Here’s a fun fact: while most railroads are privately owned and operated, the Federal Railroad Administration is responsible for inspecting railroad and crossing signals


    That’s that infrastructure thing that Donald keeps going on about.


  • That_Looks_Delicious

    Oh. *nervous laughter* So… there was a literal GOP train wreck?

    I thought it was a typo at first or that Joe was being snarky. I feel horrible for laughing because of the injured innocent people, but I mean…. come on. What are the odds?

  • ospalh

    One timely reminder what “regulations”, so hated by Republicans and Trump, do:
    making sure that train track operators keep the gates at level crossings working flawlessly.
    Seriously, there was no monitoring system, that told the operator the gates where going down at the wrong time? They knew it and didn’t do anythig about it? People didn’t report it to the cops, the NTSB, the local newspaper?