Amtrak train derails in NC

Amtrak train derails in NC
© ABC News

An Amtrak train collided with a truck and derailed in eastern North Carolina on Monday afternoon in the latest in a series of accidents that have raised questions about the safety of U.S. railroad crossing intersections. 

Forty passengers have been injured in the incident, according to a local ABC News affiliate. 

The train, which was traveling from Charlotte to New York, crashed in Halifax County, N.C., which is near the state's northern border with Virginia.

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Amtrak said after confirming the accident that none of the passengers who were on board the train were suffering life-threatening injuries. 

"This afternoon, an Amtrak train operating from Charlotte to New York, struck a vehicle on the tracks at a grade crossing approximately 30 miles north of Rocky Mount, N.C.," the company said in a statement. "There were 212 passengers and eight crew members on board and initial reports are that several passengers have been injured and taken to local medical facilities for treatment. At this time, none of the injuries have been reported as life threatening. Local emergency responders are on the scene and an investigation is ongoing." 

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said Monday afternoon that it "has sent a team of investigators to the scene of the Amtrak derailment that occurred this afternoon near Halifax, N.C."

"Once the scene is cleared of emergency response personnel, the FRA will begin conducting a thorough investigation to determine the probable cause of how and why this highway-rail grade crossing was fouled," the agency said. "Recent accidents like this one are stark reminders of our shared challenge to both educate the public about grade crossing safety, and to enforce appropriate behavior around railroad operations.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said it is looking into the accident too. 

"We are aware of reports of an Amtrak train accident in Halifax County, NC and are gathering additional information," the accident investigation agency tweeted.

The train that was involved in the crash was Amtrak's Train 80, which was operating on the company's "Carolinian" route.

The North Carolina accident comes as lawmakers and federal regulators have been questioning the safety of railroad crossings in the U.S. after a series of recent accidents on commuter railway accidents in New York and California.     

The Department of Transportation said last week that is moving to boost the safety of railroad crossing intersections by launching a new campaign to warn drivers about the dangers of entering track crossings when trains are approaching.

 This story was last updated with new information at 5:29 p.m.