A semi truck and train collided at about 12:40 p.m. near Gleichen, Alta., closing Highway 901 Wednesday. CP Rail said the lead locomotive derailed but remained upright in the collision.
“Lights and stuff were flashing, we saw him trying to stop for the train, but I guess as a quick reaction he decided to keep going and come across through the tracks. The train basically split his truck in half…groceries and stuff went flying,” Cody Helfrich, who witnessed the collision, said.
“You could tell he was trying to stop as best he could and then his last reaction was just to giv’r. Cause I think if he would’ve come to a complete stop, I don’t think he’d be talking today, or after today.”
Gleichen RCMP were at the scene of a crash between a semi truck and train Feb. 24, 2016. Global News
Gleichen RCMP were at the scene of a crash between a semi truck and train Feb. 24, 2016.
Helfrich was heading westbound on Highway 901 home from work, in the opposite direction of the semi, and saw everything.
“It was pretty scary; I’ve never seen anything happen like this before. Just like, watching it on the movies. Soon as the train hit the truck it was just like a big explosion.”
“I noticed the truck was on fire so just kind of went into rescue mode. Started dialing 911, getting everybody here and making sure he was okay.”
EMS said the man in the truck, believed to be in his 50s, was assessed at the scene and didn’t need to be taken to hospital.
The scene where a semi truck collided with a train near Gleichen, Alta. Feb. 24, 2016. Global News
The scene where a semi truck collided with a train near Gleichen, Alta. Feb. 24, 2016.
Helfrich said paramedics looked after the man very well.
“We talked to him and everything. We actually put the fire out on his trailer and truck.”
RCMP said the highway will be closed in both directions until the train can be moved.
As of 3 p.m., eastbound traffic was being rerouted onto Highway 817, and westbound traffic was being rerouted onto Highway 547.
Gleichen is about 95 kilometres southeast of Calgary.
RCMP provided the below photos of the scene of the crash Wednesday afternoon: