Amtrak hits horse trailer left on tracks


KENESAW — Amtrak passengers made a sudden stop here early this morning after an eastbound train struck an abandoned horse trailer left on the tracks.

No injuries were reported, and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

Sheriff Gregg Magee said there was no vehicle attached to the trailer, but they are trying to find out how the trailer ended up near the tracks. Initial information indicates the trailer had been at or near a crossing at Constitution Avenue, which is on the western edge of Kenesaw.

There was another report of a crashed vehicle in Adams County, but the Nebraska State Patrol is investigating that incident. It is unknown at this time whether that vehicle was involved in the train collision.

Marc Magliari, Amtrak media relations manager, said there were 145 passengers and a dozen crew members aboard the train.

The train was making the California Zephyr run from California to Chicago. It left the Holdrege station at 1:28 a.m., making its way east when the collision occurred.

“The lead locomotive received some damage, sufficient that it could not continue on,” he said.

Amtrak will send a crew out to repair the damaged locomotive, but it will likely be stuck in Kenesaw for a day or two, he said.

After a delay of nearly nine hours, the train continued its route shortly after 10 a.m. with the help of a BNSF Railway locomotive. Magliari said the trains maintain mutual aid agreements when situations like this arise. The train is expected to arrive in Chicago about 10 p.m.

“That will miss about all the other trains leaving Chicago tonight,” he said. “We will house passengers who have been misconnected.”

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