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Official: Train accident could have been worse

October 17, 2013

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad President John Smith said last week’s collision between a fully loaded log truck and a passenger train in southern Randolph County could have been much worse in......

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Oct-17-13 2:17 AM

Wouldn't it be more the truck driver sacrificed himself laying the truck down after he was caught in the pathetic crossing set up saving a lot of lives?

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Oct-17-13 3:15 PM

Horsewagled, I am with you and I agree 100%! And I am sorry Mr.John Smith but you are WRONG.To be truthly honest with you your train does me NO good,honestly I think the only ones that it does do good is the few in the community that works on your train! Because how else would it bring the rest of us any good? The money you collect from these tourist doesn't go in our pocket! It's just like Danny he was WORKING to support his family. After the post that was made on facebook by your company I've lost all respect that I will or EVER had for any of you! How about you tell the newspaper what was posted online? Exactly because that just might make you look bad for being so heartless!How about you show a little sympathy towards a family that is grieving instead of only worrying about your train. I do thank you for the post being removed and reworded but that doesn't change the fact that so many people had already read it.Put up better warnings for your train and this might not happen again!

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Oct-17-13 3:32 PM

The truck driver wouldn't have been required to lay the truck down, much less sacrifice his own life, had he been operating his rig in a safe and prudent manner.

Like it or not, trains possess the absolute right-of-way (due both to the laws of the land and the laws of physics).

In addition, Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady has confirmed the grade crossing's automatic warning devices were operating - even after the fact.

There are many "pathetic" things about this event, but the presence of the railroad or its train full of innocent passengers is not among them.

Garl Boyd Latham

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Oct-17-13 3:55 PM


So, if tourism dollars (or profits from any other local businesses) don't go directly into your pocket, they fail to provide you - and your communities - with any benefit(s), whatsoever?

Are we to presume people working for the D&GV aren't attempting to support themselves and their families, too?

And how about all those aboard the passenger train? Is it not "heartless" to so cavalierly discount the serious nature of their situation? Would it have made any difference to you if one (or more) of them had also died?

Finally, precisely what sort of additional "warnings" might you suggest for installation that the Federal Railroad Administration has not previously considered?

Mourning your friend's death is perfectly understandable. Casting aspersions upon others is not.

Garl B. Latham

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Oct-17-13 4:24 PM

Garl Boyd Latham ...Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady has confirmed the grade crossing's automatic warning devices were operating - even after the fact....The sheriff have a little physic RR crossing reader in his pocket he found behind the cracker jack factory in the reject pile taht shows signal activity a 1/2 hour before he arrived?

Pretty obvious the truck took the signal out on one side and the overturned train pancaked the other. Probably what the state guy meant when he said "THE signals were destroyed" in the radio interview.

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Oct-17-13 5:11 PM

I can't believe there are people that think Mr. john smith is just taking in loads of cash!!!!The people that come to ride the trains stay at are motels eat at all the restaurant's shop at OUR STORES!,things all over HAVE PICKED UP WELL!!! john IS A GREAT ASSET TO THIS COMUNITY! the TRAIN IS WONDERFULL AVERY NICE! people COME FROM ALL OVER AND spend money in Elkins!!!!!!

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Oct-17-13 5:48 PM


The Associated Press has disseminated quite a bit of information over the past few days, including this:

"The railroad crossing signals were flashing at the scene. As all emergency personnel arrived, we observed the signals flashing at the time." [Sheriff Brady, quoted at a hospital news conference.]


"At this juncture of the investigation, it appears that the log truck had run through the crossing signals and struck the passenger cars of the train." [Brady, from a recorded statement sent to A.P. by Davis Memorial Hospital's Tracy Fath.]

...and this:

"Volunteer fire chief Buster Varner..****ment[ed]...that it appeared the truck ran through crossing signals."

I have yet to personally review any official documents.


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Oct-17-13 6:07 PM

gblatham I agree, those people are supporting their families that work on that train, but no that train means nothing to me nor do I have respect to whomever posted what they did on the facebook page of the train. I'm not saying this was not a horrible accident because YES it was and my heart goes out to the passengers as i've kept them all in my thoughts and prayers. I just believe some things that's been posted is completely uncalled for and they aren't thinking of Danny's family nor feelings they may be going through. Please don't take anything i've posted to heart because it's just the way I feel, everybody has an opinion.

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Oct-18-13 3:01 AM

Every railroad crossing that has flashing lights or lights/gates has a Track Circuit to detect the train and turn on the devices. In some cases, the Track Circuit failed to detect the train, but got "shunted" when there was a crash-derailment. So, bottom-line, just because the lights were flashing AFTER the crash, does not mean they were working BEFORE the crash. Railroad Signal Maintainers are well aware of this.

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Oct-18-13 3:16 AM

To GBL: Until a complete investigation is done by someone who is an expert on Track Circuits, it is wrong to draw any conclusions from what anyone saw AFTER the crash. This crossing is on a U.S. highway and should have gates. Since there were no reported skid marks on the pavement, the truck driver either didn't see the flashing lights for some reason OR they were not flashing as he approached the crossing. The crash could be the railroads fault or the truck driver's fault. I haven't seen a word about whether the trains horn was blown according to the law. There must be a 20 second warning and the Engineer must start blowing the horn at the "W" sign--whistle post. BTW, what if the lights only started flashing when the truck was a few seconds from the crossing?

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Oct-19-13 9:57 PM


Thank you for your comment.

I appreciate the feelings you've expressed and would never presume your need to justify them.

Take care, Garl

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Oct-19-13 10:20 PM


I have a distinct feeling your chosen pseudonym tells me all I need to know about your line of work.

Garl B. Latham

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