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 NS 173 Vs. Tractor TrailerAdded: November 22, 2007 

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Views: 156,271 Comments: 90 
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Link to Video:
Locomotive Details Location/Date of Video
Norfolk Southern (more..)
GE C40-9W (Dash 9-40CW) (more..)
NS Piedmont Division-Charlotte District-Salisbury-(MP.333) (more..)
Salisbury, North Carolina, USA (more..)
November 21, 2007
Locomotive No./Train ID Videographer
NS 9337 (more..)
NS 173 (more..)
BJ Preddy (more..)
Contact BJ Preddy
Remarks: NS 173 with 3 NS C40-9W's hitting at Tractor trailer truck on the tracks at the wye, Henderson St.
Videographer Profile  Detailed Video Statistics

  User Comments on this Video (90)

Posted by jim austin on November 22, 2007

Talk about the right place at the right time. Hope no one got hurt. This has to be the best video on this site so far. BJ Great job catching this action.

Posted by Steve Lerro on November 22, 2007


Posted by Tyler Bishop on November 22, 2007

WOW! Thats intense!

Posted by Derek Buel on November 22, 2007

I hope noboby was injured in the accident!

Posted by Iosif on November 22, 2007

Wow, I hope nobody killed on this accident.

Posted by Kilroy1313 on November 22, 2007

Tough video ! Fortunately you filmed it from the less dangerous side of the tracks !!

Posted by Nick George on November 22, 2007

WOW, great video. Did you see they guy to the far right before the train hit?

Posted by Patrick Treadaway on November 22, 2007

Gives you something to think about when you are out railfaning. Scary.

Posted by Jack D. Kuiphoff on November 22, 2007

HOLY COW, I bet his boss is real proud of him. I'm a trucker myself for over 37 years, and I don't know the story behind this, but this has to be one stupid driver. Hope you sent this clip into the local news room. Nice job of being in the right place. Thanks for sharing. Jack D. Kuiphoff

Posted by Warren on November 22, 2007

Wow amazing. I think if I was making this video there would have been some beeps to cover up my excitement of seeing this in front of me. I can't believe you were so quiet when this happened.

Posted by Loyd Lowry on November 22, 2007

You've taken quite an amazing video here. I don't recall seeing a train versus vehicle video that was level, and focused completely correct like this one. Skip the lottery tickets for a few months, your luck is now dry! Congratulations on an amazing video.

Posted by John Dennis on November 22, 2007

Amazing video. I'm equally amazed that there appears to be no whistling from the loco. I would have thought the crew would have been blasting the horn...

Posted by Jeff Allgood on November 22, 2007

That trailer was demolished! The reason for no horn in that particular scene is the crew probably already hit the floor out of their seats preparing for the worst!

Posted by Right time right place. on November 22, 2007

Wow,did you notice the quad gates to keep people from going around gates,it did not work this time.

Posted by Patrick Bach on November 23, 2007

Wow this guy was lucky, the loco hit the trailer not the tractor. To be shown in every driving school for truck drivers.

Posted by on November 23, 2007

I wonder if the truck driver is still employed with the same employer?

Posted by Kevin Grisham on November 23, 2007

Must of been pretty lucky to be there at that time. But what I dont understand is how you stayed so quiet.

Posted by The Wolf on November 23, 2007

What the devil was the trucker thinking.I notice the horn on the train was not blasting his horn although I hear the bell.I am sure the engineer was taking measures to brake and hold on for impact.Shows how stupid people can be.

Posted by Wally on November 23, 2007

It doesn't appear that the truck tried to run the gates. If one looks closely at the beginning of the clip, the gates have come down on top of the truck, indicating that he was on the tracks as they were lowering.

Posted by ModelTrainGuy on November 23, 2007

WOW! Very Scary! Having read several entries...I am wondering, did the Truck Driver ignore the Warning Lights before the Crossing Gates came down? Clearly, the Crossing Gates are rubbing against the trailor before "Impact". Lastly, it is scenes like this that must remind us how dangerous it can be to ride up front in the driver seat of a train...much less what happened, in this case, to the truck. It could have been a Fuel Tanker with a load in it. Enough said.

Posted by Andrew Robb on November 24, 2007

WOW! You could make a lot of money off of this by sending it to news and even shows like "most amazing videos"

Posted by Gremlin Guy on November 24, 2007

The main issue the truck driver ignored was, he probably had no room in front of him, but pulled onto the tracks anyway, idling in traffic, even though you are ALWAYS supposed to wait to make sure there is enough vehicle space in front of you. If you watch the video, you can see vehicles ahead of the truck, slowly moving off. So he pulled onto the tracks, BEFORE the lights and gate action, and was just trapped because he was stupidly being impatient and not waiting until he had a full truck length before pulling across. Dumb, dumb, dumb....see what impatience gets you?

Posted by LonsterSchaeffer on November 25, 2007

Look on the right side of the crossing just befor the train hits. It looks like someone in a red vest, got closer than he wanted to be.

Posted by Adam Christman (Penn Rail Videos) on November 25, 2007

Train: 1 Tractor Trailer: 0

Posted by Casey Thomason on November 26, 2007

As the clip very first starts to play, you can hear just a millisecond of Dash-9 horn. The bells on those locos turn on when the horn is blown, not many Engineers actually turn the bell on before blowing the horn because we know the bell comes on automatically. Therefore, I'm sure they were blowing the horn, but in these last few seconds, the Engineer probably blew the horn, then hit the emergency brake lever on his way to the cab floor.

Posted by Ryan on November 26, 2007

Cool, When I grow up I want to be an engineer and engineer train and maybe crash into a few cars.

Posted by George on November 26, 2007

Lack of horn= engineer on floor holding on. Can't reach the horn from the floor....and to stay in the seat risks getting hit by any debris coming through the window. To the poster above who wants to hit cars- I can only hope that when you grow up you realize just how serious this is. -17 yrs on the rails....

Posted by Celyn Rogers on November 26, 2007

Wow! Honk the horn.

Posted by Harvey Henkelman on November 26, 2007

Awesome video! Hope that trucker learned his lesson

Posted by Route 66'er on November 26, 2007

Sorry to all PROFESSIONAL truckers viewing this - Four quadrant crossing gates, train horn or none - NO EXCUSES WHATSOEVER - the driver has the IQ of a turnip. Hope he has his license revoked, and this video viewed by freight damage claimants......

Posted by Vegasrails on November 26, 2007

Great video, excellent for my presentations with OLI, about what a train does to a truck trailer but it doesn't show how the driver got in to this predicament.

Posted by Mitch Reed on November 28, 2007

Just another example of the "I'm in a hurry" mindset most have anymore. Young puppy poster above, once you grow up & gain some maturity, & by slim chance become an engineer, I'm sure you won't want that to happen to you.

Posted by 8419 on November 28, 2007

Anyone notice the person running up to the crossing and then running away right before impact?

Posted by Nate Clark on November 28, 2007

Notice how the lead unit, after quickly dispensing with the remains of the van box of that trailer, then continues to 'kick the rear tandems right on down the tracks, like a toy'. Your eyes can hardly avoid following the 'bouncing bogie'. As big as semi-trucks seem outside of our car windows on a freeway, this clip sure puts into perspective the respective mass of a semi vs. freight train.

Posted by Where's the RoadRailer? on November 28, 2007

I don't intend to make light of people's misfortune in this video, but since this is Norfolk Southern, perhaps a video of this train running into a RoadRailer trailer would have been more appropriate. Where's THAT video? Seriously though, good job catching the impact.

Posted by TR on November 29, 2007

I noticed that the gate on the right side of the road is down, so the truck at least drove around that gate. It was accidents like this that was the reason the Southern Ry. bought locomotives set up to run long hood forward.

Posted by Preston Parker on November 29, 2007

I wonder if a cell phone conversation played a part in this?

Posted by Corey Vernier on November 29, 2007

Absolutely amazing video. Isn't this the crossing that had at least 5 cameras pointing at it as part of a NCDOT 4-quad gate with median divider crossing monitoring project?

Posted by Moose on November 30, 2007

Not to defend the trucker, but I've seen situations where the trucker leaves a space, then goes to advance and some air-head in a BMW or whatever passes him and takes up the space he was planning to occupy. Just one of the plausable explainations of how this happened to him. Be that as it may, sure looks like he could have backed up, or perhaps pushed a few cars out of his way. As a railroader and railfan, thumbs up to the videographer.

Posted by mk on November 30, 2007

As others have noted, the position of the trailer at the beginning of the video is indicative of the truckdriver having driven around the gates on the right hand side of the road, most likely because the exit gates (those on the left) were programmed to drop a few seconds later than the entrance gates. Any activity or lack thereof of traffic queued up on the far side of the crossing is irrelevant--the truckdriver violated the 4-quad gate's warning.

Posted by Dale Roth on November 30, 2007

Usually when someone tapes vids they get excited and move it towards their feet, or move it around where you lose the impart of what was to happen. Steady nerves and a fast beating heart no doubt. The best by far.

Posted by Brian Hiscock on December 3, 2007

In reference to "Ryan's" comment; I hope you're joking about what you stated. If not, you may need some professional help.

Posted by Ron Kollas on December 5, 2007

This one is a good as the strawberry hauling semi getting hit at a crossing in Oxnard CA. Don't think I'd ever gamble with a guy coming at me with that much horse power!!!!!

Posted by John Sweet on December 25, 2007

My guess is the driver got stuck on the tracks from the landing gear on the trailer. Look at the angle of the cab.

Posted by NS9957 on February 16, 2008

I'm glad you're okay!

Posted by Dana on February 29, 2008

In response to "Ryan" from Nov. 26th, 2007 - As a railfan and active volunteer with local tourist rialroads in Ohio, I've been in the cab of many a locomotive, and although I've never been involved in a vehicle/train collision, the perspective from the seat is a lot different than being track side, especially when you see innocent children in the back seat of the car. Also, Ive had the misfortune of personally witnessing a person commit suicide by train, as I stood helpless and watched an intoxicated man deliberately run in front of a BNSF "war bonnet" locomotive and turn and face it head on. I can honestly tell you, IT'S NOT a pretty sight, nor is it "COOL" to see! I hope you seek some professional advice for your comment. This video shows us all how dangerous and unpredictable railroading and railfanning can be, and why we should ALWAYS be alert when in the presence of trains.

Posted by Derek Buel on March 15, 2008

I agree with "Dana'', because I have seen videos on trains striking cars on TV and I hear it's the worst thing a train crew or any bystander can witness.

Posted by Locomotive Engineer on March 17, 2008

Comment to Ryan below. There is a saying that is all to true that applies to you. Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt... I am a Locomotive Engineer who knows what it's like. I have gone back in the middle of the night to what's left of what used to be people because the Conductor was too rattled to go by himself. I have had several fatalities now and cannot get them out of my mind. I still see their faces and mangled bodies all the time. It's not cool Ryan. I think you're sick to think that way.

Posted by Eric on March 18, 2008

If you look at the truck carefully right after the initial impact you can see that the trailer bears the brunt of the impact and the cab doesn't seem to get hit. Maybe if this driver is lucky he will only be unemployed. I don't understand how a driver can take any chance whatsoever at a grade crossing. Even if the driver is completely unhurt he probably caused damage equivalent to a couple years' salary. It just ain't worth it!

Posted by Sam Davey on March 28, 2008

This is a great video. Not all the time when a semi gets hit is the driver doing something wrong. Ive seen the jacks on some trailers get stuck on some crossings. Luckily it was an abandoned line but it still makes the point. This situation may have had many different causes. As for reading through the rest of the comments you can sure tell the adults from the ignorant young foamers. For someone to want to grow up to be a hogger just so he can hit cars is absurd. Ask any railroader on here and they will tell you its not a good situation. You may have to live with the weight of knowing you killed someone and there was nothing you could do about it. You may also be badly injured or killed yourself. I suggest before making a comment like that you need to put a little thought into it and grow up.

Posted by Dale Raper on March 28, 2008

Atta Boy!!!!

Posted by Nscalemike on April 1, 2008

Excellent video... Perhaps I missed it...who was the guy jumping out of the way in the very begining of the video? He seemed to have an orange safety vest on.

Posted by Tim Rich on April 2, 2008

Here is a prime example of why you should shoot from in front of the crossing, not behind it. Luckily, the debris flew away from you.

Posted by gcavert on April 3, 2008

OK, before everyone totally foams over, a quick google search turned up this from the Salisbury, NC fire department: Scroll down and you'll see this accident as viewed from the other side of the tracks and by studying the pictures you'll see some interesting things: A) Thankfully the trailer is empty, so it didn't put up much resistance when the locomotive plowed into it. Not like BNSF which recently had the misfortune to take on a truck full of frozen pizzas. :P~~~ B) There are three more sets of tracks beyond the hill and out of view of the camera. C) There is a crossing gate between this set of tracks and the other three. The truck is stopped behind that set in the middle. I would surmise that the driver had stopped behind the middle set of gates thinking he was in the right place. And yes, I have a CDL myself and know all too well to make it over the tracks in one fell swoop but that middle set of gates seems a bit peculiar to me. Fortunately it looks like everyone walked away from this incursion relatively unscathed, and to BJ I must say that was a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) shot.

Posted by Andrew Robb on April 6, 2008

I think it's rather funny that the engineer didnt honk, but he knew he was going to hit, whats the point of honking?

Posted by Michael William Sullivan on April 13, 2008

For everyone asking why there is no horn being blown... I'm sure by the time this video started, the crew had already dumped the train and hit the floor or ran back to the next engine. I don't blame them one bit either.

Posted by VAcoalhauler on April 23, 2008

In response to gcavert, I believe what you identified in the pictures on that link as crossing gates for the next three tracks are, in fact, the gates for traffic going the opposite direction over the track on which the truck was hit. Remember from the video that this crossing has gates on all four corners. I am an engineer myself, and there is a crossing where I run that has a siding for an industry that runs parallel about 20 feet from a double track mainline. The siding is not protected by gates, just the mainline, and one set of gates is between the main and the siding. That is what it looks to me is going on here. I agree with other commenters above that the trucker probably was held up by other traffic, and either thought he would make it all the way across, or that no train was going to come, and got into a bad spot.

Posted by Seen it before on April 24, 2008

I have 43 years active service with the railroad and have seen this type of thing before both from the ground and the cab of the locomotive. This is NOT a fun thing to go through. Drive saftely & when the light are flashing and the bells are ringing STAY OFF THE CROSSING!

Posted by Erick Anderson on May 10, 2008

The trailer didn't move on impact the way I would have expected. The speed of the train made it look like it was going to tear through the trailer like a football team tearing through a banner on their way onto the field. This may still be the most spectacular truck-train collision I've ever seen. As others have said, I'm glad it was the trailer that got hit and not the tractor.

Posted by westpoint64 on June 7, 2008

Every time I view this I get a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach just before the moment of impact. Grade crossing accidents are serious. Believe me, nobody in their right mind would want this kind of thing to happen, it is traumatic for all concerned. I will never forget the time I saw a Southern Railway train hit a stalled car. Its occupants had just gotten out in the nick of time and when the train hit the car, it flew up in the air, end over end, but cleared the tracks. Watching that train hit the trailer is like watching a Brahma bull charge through a cardboard box. I'm glad you were well out of the way when this happened.

Posted by on June 16, 2008

Guys, some of you are not really thinking. Today's mainline locomotive crews are often stressed out enough as it is. Working odd hours, scrutinized by Trainmasters that are ready to write them up for rules violations, and hoping to be able to get a full 8 hours worth of sleep after their assignment is finished. Imagine the stress the crew encounters when they see a semi-truck in their path and know for certain that they are going to hit it within seconds. Knowing they don't have anywhere to run to, they hit the floor and pray that they survive the impending crash. That has got to be a gut-turning experience. Sad that grade crossing violators often don't have a clue, or are careless.

Posted by ACLTony on June 20, 2008

Railroader locomotive crews deserve a salute for having to put up with this type of stress. That's got to be a really scary moment for an engineer, seeing a big truck up ahead and not knowing if it is empty or is carrying a heavy, solid loads. Not knowing if his locomotive will absorb the impact, if it's going to stay on the track or derail, if he will survive. Yet, there seems to be a public perception that the Engineer's job is a cakewalk! Ignorance for sure. What makes this so annoying is that these types of collisions are avoidable! Back in the 80s, railroads were putting out a lot of public service type announcement and adds about grade crossing safety. I haven't seen any since then. Operation Lifesaver alone is not going to reach the public as well as local tv commercials can.

Posted by on June 23, 2008

Talk about a railfans worst nightmare. Or not. Some times you almost want things like this to happen to promote crossing safety. But sometimes you feel sorry for the poor men and women inside the cab.

Posted by andrew on July 19, 2008

WOW! I hope no one was killed

Posted by Rod Williams on August 13, 2008

Michael William Sullivan is spot on. The reason for no honking is clearly that the engineer has finished sounding the whistle and has moved the big handle to the big hole position and is by now somewhere below windscreen level waiting for the thud.

Posted by Chicago Railfan on August 21, 2008

No horn?

Posted by BJ Preddy on August 21, 2008

They did blow the horn its just not in the video I moved back because I seen what was about to happen so the horn part got cut out. Also the person you see in the Orange Vest works in the place to right out of the video where the truck had just left, dropping off a load of flatten cardboard boxes.

Posted by George Widener on October 9, 2008

Why is everyone so worried about the lack of horn in this video? You can't reach it on locomotives when you are on the floor of the cab hoping to avoid getting impaled by whatever that truck may be hauling. As other have pointed out, the engineer has already finished using the horn, placed the train in emergency, and taken cover. Been there, done that.

Posted by Joshua Bauer on November 1, 2008

Watch the trailer's wheels when the train hits them. They spin several times like a disc! Incredible footage!

Posted by PcMiler2000 on November 6, 2008

All that train needs is a paint job.

Posted by Stan on November 20, 2008

The tractor might not have been hit, but it was spun around pretty good. It would take a pretty heavy, solid object to penetrate through the nose, collision posts & sandboxes into the locomotive cab, but you never know what kind of shrapnel might come through the windshield. Generally a trailer, even loaded, weighs a fraction of the weight of a locomotive and is going to be completely demolished. Still, if in doubt, hit the deck.

Posted by David Wheeler on December 23, 2008

I agree, in that situation I think I'd be more concerned about hitting the deck than blowing a horn due to the fact that some collisions with trucks can do some considerable damage. As for "Ryan"'s comment, If you think hitting cars in a train is cool then I think professional help is in order. Crashes may look "cool" but for those involved they can leave people dead and survivors and witnesses scarred for life. So please use some common sense before posting such inconsiderate childish remarks. Also I hope the trucking company picked up all the associated costs for clean up and damage to the train (if applicable). One more thought I hope nobody was hurt in the crash.

Posted by erielack3612 on January 25, 2009

I'm thinking that the trucker went around the gates in the right lane, because the ones on the left are both on top of the trailer and bent by it. Notice the first two seconds of the video. What do you guys think?

Posted by Mr. Railfan on April 8, 2009

Simply smashing!

Posted by Charles J. Renella on July 7, 2009

This is an interesting video. Quite amazing catch I may say. I am not a railroader by trade, however it seems that the brakes were applied after the impact. The train hit the truck at pretty fair clip (possibly 30 mph?) and it didn't take that long to stop once the brakes seemed to be applied. Once again, I don't know anything about operating a train, but just from the sound of it, the screeching of the brakes came later than I would have thought considering there was an imminent collision about to occur.

Posted by Very nice site! on May 4, 2010

Very nice site!

Posted by Maxwell on July 6, 2010

Nice catch.I wish I was there.

Posted by Mom on October 3, 2010

Great job B.J. That's my boy!

Posted by railfan4114 on January 19, 2011

I think the orange dot in the video was the truck driver

Posted by George on February 27, 2011

Will somebody please remove the drug postings from this video comments section?

Posted by 611N&WFan on March 18, 2011

It is pretty clear that the gates were down, when the trailer was hit.

Posted by Justin csx on June 12, 2011

Oh man! I hope that trailer wasn't loaded. a good example of why you should yield to the railroad crossing. I also think the 4th car was a Southern Railway boxcar.

Posted by Spencer Batey on July 5, 2011

After the train hits the trailer you can see that the trailer is empty. as for "Ryan's'' comment I have seen allot of crash videos to never want to see it in my window.

Posted by on January 20, 2012

Did you see the wheels on the trailer! They flew strait of it.

Posted by mpk on April 2, 2012

WOW!I hope no one was hurt.If you look closely,you will see that the cab of the truck just got jolted.MAN!

Posted by wck on April 23, 2012

That was one bad driver. Hope that driver did not get hurt.

Posted by Will on May 30, 2012

At the very last second of the video, did anyone see a train on the other track??

Posted by Bill at Tampa on July 5, 2012

Just played again. Saw "new" posting referring to photogtraph from fire department. The reference page is no longer available on the internet. Any idea how to find it?

Posted by jm on July 26, 2012

Yeah, almost looks like another train coming at the very last milli-second.

Posted by David West on November 16, 2013

How long was the truck on the crossing without moving? You can see it start to move very slowly before the train hits, The Truck driver must have ignored the crossing lights as both barriers are touching the trailer! More importantly I do hope that both drivers and any extra crew were not badly injured!. Only a few weeks ago Network Rail in the UK released footage of a woman on a peddle cycle who escaped death by a fraction of a second. She came forward in the end after the CCTV footage had been all over the TV News.

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