Steven Unterseher of Smiley’s Energy Service in Fairview, Montana reported the eastbound Amtrak Empire Builder #8 train hit a bulldozer in Trenton, North Dakota around 7:15 PM MDT on July 29, 2013. The operator of the bulldozer was life lifted from the scene to the Mercy Medical Center in Williston, ND hospital where he passed away from his injuries.
The accident was caused by the construction company not providing a flagger with the Amtrak train was coming around a corner and the engineer not seeing the bulldozer on the track ahead of him. Road 1804 is under construction and parallels the tracks between Trenton and Highway 58. First report is no one on the train was hurt but passengers were not allowed to disembark to get rides with waiting friends. Amtrak is waiting for another diesel engine to arrive and take over for the damaged one.
A hole in the front of the engine from the train was observed along with severe damage to the bulldozer sitting on the track.
The Amtrak Empire Builder #8 disruption happened between Wolf Point and Williston near Trenton, North Dakota at 7 PM MDT. A paramedic in western North Dakota said, “The [lead] engine is smashed and the front is off the tracks with the second engine leaking a lot of diesel fuel. The Empire Builder #8 east bound started moving again after relief engines arrived at 2:25 AM MDT, and took the #8 Amtrak train to Trenton using NS 8043, NS 8021, AMTK 21, and AMTK 91 for power.
Dick Reed and his wife, who live in McMinnville, Oregon, are on the train while Amtraking to Little Rock via Chicago. Dick Reed said that it was pretty hot in the coach because of the lack of HEP* but after the night air started cooling off outside the crew opened doors to try to get a little air circulation to the passengers.
*Head End Power is a system of electrical power distribution on a passenger train in which a power source in a central location on the train (usually a locomotive or a generator car) generates all the electricity for “hotel” power (non-traction, or non-motive power uses) needed by the train. Virtually all modern passenger trains have their electrical needs met in this fashion. The acronym HEP is its common usage.
This article and pictures can be re-published with attribution to the author: Bob van der Valk – Managing Editor – Bakken Oil Business Journal. Pictures were taken by Steven Unterseher of Fairview, Montana
By: Bob van der Valk
July 30, 2013 6 AM MDT