WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Railroad workers returned to Woonsocket Thursday after a train collided with a tractor trailer.
Crews were seen working in and around a signal box near the intersection of River and Fairmount Streets, where the crash occurred at about 10 p.m. Wednesday night.
Eyewitness News reached out to the Providence & Worcester Railroad Company for more information, and they released the following statement:
A P&W southbound freight train reported striking a tractor trailer occupying the grade crossing near River and Fairmount Streets on the Company’s Main Line. Railroad and public safety officials immediately responded to the scene. The driver of the vehicle was transported to Rhode Island Hospital. An investigation into the cause of the incident is currently underway.”
The train was moving mixed freight in roughly 34 cars, P&W said.
Eyewitness Jessica Salvas said the truck stopped at the bottom of Verry Street, but the driver went forward thinking he could make it past the train. It was then struck by the train and flipped onto its side.
“The train started blowing its horn about five, ten minutes before it even hit the truck,” recalled Salvas, who witnessed the crash from her home nearby.
Officials on scene said the truck driver was injured, but expects he’ll be okay. Salvas said he got out and walked to the stretcher under his own power.
Lights and arms are installed on both sides of the tracks on River Street, however on Fairmount and Verry there are only lights. They appeared to be illuminated and in working order Wednesday night and during the day on Thursday. A good deal of heavy vehicles move through the intersection in the mixed industrial-residential area.
Eyewitness News reached out to the truck’s operator, Jarvis Trans., Inc. from Franklin, Mass., but did not hear back.
An inspector from the Federal Railroad Administration was also on the scene Thursday.
“A Federal Railroad Administration inspector with our regional safety office is looking into the grade crossing accident in Woonsocket,” an FRA spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. “As the agency responsible for railroad safety, our inspector’s focus will be on the operations and equipment within the railroads’ control, to include the operation of signals and crossing equipment.”
The FRA also said that Rhode Island has had only one other reportable incident at a grade crossing in the last decade, when a 45-year-old man was injured when he failed to stop for a train in North Kingstown on a clear day in 2011.
Visit the FRA’s website for more information about railroad crossing safety.