Thankfully, there were no reports of serious injuries resulting from this tremendous collision between a semi-truck carrying an excavator and a freight train. The accident occurred on February 28 in the small town of Ringgold, located in northern Georgia not far from Chattanooga, Tennessee. And it was caught up close in the above video from ViralHog.
According to WTVC in Chattanooga, the truck carrying the excavator got high-centred attempting to clear the crossing. The video shows the truck driver exiting the cab, frantically working to uncouple the trailer from the tractor before a CSX train plows into it. We aren't familiar with exactly how a gooseneck trailer of this type attaches to a truck, but it appears to have a removable front section that doesn't require disconnecting from the fifth wheel on the truck. When the train makes impact, we can see a clear separation from the truck that minimised damage.
It's still an incredible impact, however. Depending on the configuration, standard-sized excavators can weigh upwards of 90,000 pounds (40,800 kilograms). Transporting them usually involves specialised equipment like the trailer in this video, which sits low to the ground for easier loading and unloading. This can obviously cause problems with railroad crossings that have even a slight incline, though the WTVC report cites a spokesperson from the local county as saying trucks usually don't have a problem on this crossing. A local business owner, however, told the news outlet that trucks have been stuck there before.
While the video shows the excavator getting shoved off the track with ease, the impact noticeably slows the train. The speed at impact isn't mentioned, but the train is able to stop just beyond the crossing. At the end of the video, damage to the lead engine's nose and walkway is visible. The excavator is in worse shape, though it never flips in the impact. And since the truck was detached, it appears to have just minor damage in the video. We suspect the trailer is pretty borked, however.
This crash comes amid a rash of train derailments and accidents in the United States, the most prominent being the Norfolk Southern derailment in Ohio on February 3 that released hazardous materials and has prompted a special NTSB investigation.