According to the East Wake News, a woman from Knightdale, North Carolina, was driving her vehicle on Friday, January 16, when a train hit her. The accident was partially caused by the fact that the railroad tracks in question had rarely been used until recently and many in the area were not used to being cautious when driving on the tracks.
The car, which was driven by Nathalie Frazier of Pampus Lane in Knightdale, North Carolina, was stopped on the tracks at the intersection of First Avenue and Fayetteville Street. While she was looking at traffic approaching from the left on First Avenue, the train approached her car from the right and Frazier was unaware of its approach.
The oncoming train was a two-engine, 21-car Coastal Carolina locomotive, blew its warning whistle but was unable to stop. It struck Frazier’s 2007 Honda on its right broad side and dragged the vehicle along the track for 560 feet before it was able to come to a stop. The train speed limit along that particular stretch of track is 25 miles per hour.
Acting Police Chief D.R. Simmons told the media that Frazier was transported by ambulance to WakeMed, but miraculously did not receive any life-threatening injuries. She was released later that day.
The General Manager of Coastal Carolina, Virgil Holman, explained further that trains had been rare in the area until last year, when the company began leasing the track section from Norfolk Southern in June of 2007. Prior to the lease, Norfolk Southern did not use the tracks actively but instead used them for storing engines not in use between Wilson NC, and Raleigh NC. Even now, trains run rarely – hauling sporadic loads of agricultural goods such as corn, woodchips, soybeans, and wheat.
This story is a cautionary tale – even if you think train tracks are not in use, never assume that there isn’t a train approaching.