On June 27, 2022, about 12:42 p.m. local time, eastbound National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train 4 (also known as the Southwest Chief), derailed both locomotives and all eight railcars in Mendon, Missouri, after colliding with an MS Contracting LLC dump truck that had entered a highway-railroad grade crossing. (See figure 1.) Three train passengers and the truck driver were killed, and 146 other passengers and Amtrak crewmembers were transported to local hospitals with injuries. Amtrak and the BNSF Railway Company estimated damage to track and equipment to be about $4 million.
We determined that the probable cause of the collision between Amtrak train 4 and the MS Contracting LLC dump truck was the truck driver proceeding for unknown reasons into the highway-railroad grade crossing without stopping despite the presence of a stop sign and approaching train. Contributing to the collision was the grade crossing’s design, which reduced drivers’ ability to see approaching trains and made stopping as required by Missouri law difficult for heavy trucks.