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Amtrak train in separate accidents involving vehicles

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on December 22.)

CHICAGO -- An Amtrak train was delayed twice Wednesday after colliding with vehicles on the tracks in separate incidents.

The train was traveling to Chicago from St. Louis around 8:45 a.m. when it collided with a car in Braidwood, about 25 miles southwest of Joliet, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said. The car ran into the train as it passed, he said.

The female driver of the car sustained minor head injuries, but was not hospitalized, Braidwood Police Chief Robert Andreina said.

"She's a very, very lucky young lady," Andreina said. "If you saw the car, you'd think there was a fatality."

The train was delayed while authorities investigated the accident, then it started up again around 10:35 a.m. About 10 minutes later, the train hit a tractor hauling a wagon full of grain, Magliari said.

The driver of the tractor was taken to Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet with non-life-threatening injuries, Illinois State Police Sgt. Dale Fraher said. The hospital would not confirm whether it received a victim from the accident.

None of the roughly 190 passengers and crew members on board the Amtrak train was injured, Magliari said. He said the Braidwood crossing has warning lights and bells, while the crossing where the tractor was hit has only a stop sign and a sign warning of high-speed trains.

The train arrived in Chicago five hours and 40 minutes late, Magliari said. A southbound train from Chicago to Kansas City also was delayed by the incidents, he said.

"It's unfortunate but not unprecedented," Magliari said. "We regret that these things happen, but unfortunately they do."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

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