Amtrak, BNSF suing Cimarron feed lot over train derailment

A spokesperson for Amtrak said Saturday the railroad is suing a Cimarron, Kan. feed lot, alleging one of its trucks damaged railroad tracks that caused a March 2016 derailment.

Aerial photograph of Amtrak passenger train 4. (Photo courtesy of Kansas Highway Patrol, via NTSB)

WICHITA, Kansas – Amtrak and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railways are suing a Cimarron feed lot over a train derailment that occurred on March 14, 2016, a spokesperson for Amtrak said Saturday.

A report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board issued a preliminary report on April 7th said a grain truck owned by Cimarron Crossing Feeders, LLC hit the tracks and pushed them out of alignment.

In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Amtrak and BNSF said in the process of loading a grain truck at the Cimarron Crossing Feeders, feed lot employees left the truck unattended, out of gear and without any brakes applied. The plaintiffs charge the unattended truck rolled away from the feed lot, downhill, crossed over U.S. Highway 50 and struck the side of the BNSF railroad roadbed and track, causing the truck to come to rest on the railroad right of way.

The lawsuit says the truck hit the tracks with such force it caused physical damage to the railroad roadbed and tracks that resulted in the displacement of the trucks by more than a foot.

Amtrak and BNSF also say in the lawsuit no one from Cimarron Crossing Feeders notified BNSF of the damage to the tracks.

The NTSB report said there was an abundance of evidence that the tracks were damaged, including forward-facing video from the train’s locomotive, tire tracks at the scene of the crossing indicating the type of truck that hit the tracks, fresh damage to the railroad ties beneath the tracks, and a small amount of flaked corn which is used as cattle feed that was found at the feed lot that owned the truck. Investigators also said they found fresh damage to the truck’s front bumper.

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