A Union Pacific (UP) freight train traveling south through Madera collided with a pickup on Thursday, June 28, at about 10:30am.
A couple on vacation in their motor home, towing the pickup behind, were crossing the UP tracks west bound on Clevelend Avenue when the motor home died. The driver made several attempts to re-start the motor home without success. The motor home itself was clear of the tracks, however the pickup truck was still sitting in the middle of the crossing.
The driver’s wife noticed a south bound freight train approaching the crossing. Realizing that they could not move the vehicle off the tracks, they both abandoned the motor home, watching in horror as the train struck the pickup. The force of the impact ripped the pickup from the tow bar of the motor home and shoved it some 3,000 feet down the track before the train was able to come to a stop.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident. There was no damage to the tracks or the locomotive, though the pickup was completely destroyed.
Emergency responders included the Madera City Police Department, Madera City Fire Department and officials from the Union Pacific railroad. After the pickup was removed from the lead locomotive, UP personnel inspected the train and track for damage. The train was released after a two hour delay.