Dinner train crashes into pickup truck

The Newport Dinner Train rolls along Aquidneck Island's west shore. (Newport Dinner Train photo) The Newport Dinner Train rolls along Aquidneck Island's west shore. (Newport Dinner Train photo)

The Newport Dinner Train rolls along Aquidneck Island’s west shore. (Newport Dinner Train photo)

PORTSMOUTH — The southbound Newport Dinner Train slammed into a pickup truck Saturday morning, Oct. 27, at the Carr Point recreation area train crossing off Burma Road.

The truck’s driver walked away from the accident but his truck, which police say was pushed over 20 feet down the tracks, sustained heavy passenger-side damage. It is not clear how fast the train, which consisted of an engine and five passenger cars, was moving but the Dinner Train typically moves slowly — around 10 m.p.h.

Marc J. Proulx, 41, of King Street in Bristol, told police that he had been driving his 2012 Dodge Ram south on Burma Road along the Portsmouth waterfront just before 10:30 a.m. when he turned right to enter the Carr Point recreation area.

“I heard a horn blast and saw the Newport Dinner Train to my right about 20 to 30 feet away.”
The train had ben hidden from view by trees, and by the time he saw it he was already in its path. “I couldn’t make it out of the way and was struck on my (truck’s) rear quarter” and pushed 35 to 40 feet down the tracks.

Nathan Perry, a conductor on the train, said he saw the white pickup truck turn into the train’s path at the last minute. A moment later the train struck the truck.

A witness said he was in his camper when he heard the train horn so he went out for a look. He saw the truck turn and head toward the tracks.

“I though (the pickup) was going to stop,” but it didn’t and was hit. “The train stopped immediately.

The witness said that his daughter, a nurse, went to check the man but he told her that he was fine.

The train sustained minor damage to a backup hose, rear lights, rear steps and a large scuff mark along its side. Two railroad ties were also damaged.

There is a railroad crossing sign at the intersection but the police report does not indicate whether there are any other warning signals.

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