Forty-four people were injured after a passenger train and a freight train collided in the Ozarks about 130 miles northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas. The people on the passenger train were on a scenic fall foliage excursion at the time of the accident, reported CNN News (10.16.14).
The trains collided when excess leaves on the track apparently caused the passenger train to stall on a small grade, said CNN News. Another train was called to help. However, due to a miscommunication about the location of the passenger train, the freight locomotive rounded the curve, and crashed into the passenger train.
The six crew members and 38 passengers aboard the fall foliage tour train were all injured, reported CNN News.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), there have been a total of 1,013 train accidents since January 2014. Of these accidents, 36 involved passenger trains. The FRA also reported a total of 488 rail-related deaths nationwide in this same time period. Human error, mechanical or electrical failures, improper operating procedure, inadequate safety devices, faulty equipment, maintenance problems, and negligence may be causes of railroad accidents. Accidents related to errors made by humans and track defects account for more than two thirds of all train accidents.
Just as there are many factors that can cause a train accident to occur, there are multiple parties who may be held liable for any loss of income, medical expenses and other costs associated with a train accident. Responsible parties may include the company that owns the train, the train operator, the manufacturers or suppliers of any parts of the train, and those who maintain the railroad and-or trains.
Depending on where the train accident took place, there may be very short deadlines for protecting a victim’s legal rights. Injured train passengers should contact a lawyer immediately following an accident.
The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad operates the passenger train involved in the Arkansas accident. The railroad operates a 140-mile route from Monett, Mo., to Fort Smith, Ark. The company also owns the tracks where the accident occurred. Refurbished antique cars are used to transport tourists, according to the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad website.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
The CNN News story cited is “Train collision injures 44 on fall foliage ride in northwest Arkansas.”