Train collides with semi truck in Columbia River Gorge

A train on Thursday collided with a semi truck that veered off state Highway 14, went over an embankment and came to rest on a BNSF Railway railroad track in the Columbia River Gorge.

No one was injured in the incident. The crash occurred east of Stevenson at about 12:40 p.m., said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas. Both the train and the truck were heading east, he said, when the truck ended up on its side in front of the train. The train — two locomotives and two freight cars — was traveling about 45 mph at the time.

The train crew immediately applied emergency brakes, and managed to slow down to 17 mph by the time it hit the truck, Melonas said. The train hit the semi truck from behind, peeling the trailer apart where it lay. The trailer was empty, Melonas said. Carrying two loads of timber, the train didn’t lose its cargo, Melonas said. It didn’t derail, either. But it didn’t come out unscathed, he said.

“There is significant damage to the locomotive,” Melonas said.

The crash spilled diesel fuel from the truck, bringing hazardous material crews to the scene. The spill was not believed to be a threat to the Columbia River, Melonas said.

BNSF, the Washington State Department of Transportation and other agencies also responded.

Other trains were able to make it through the area on a side track later, Melonas said. The main track, which sees about 35 trains pass through daily, was expected to re-open by 7 p.m. Thursday.

The incident remains under investigation.