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Queens train-truck collision probed by federal rail agency

A truck and train collided early July 8,

A truck and train collided early July 8, 2015, at a crossing near Rust Street and Maspeth Avenue in Maspeth, Queens. Credit: Bill Bennett

A federal agency said Tuesday that it will review the safety practices of New York & Atlantic Railway after a train and a tractor-trailer collided this month in Queens.

The Federal Railroad Administration's comprehensive review of New York & Atlantic Railway's overall safety culture follows the agency's investigation into the July 8 collision at Rush Street and Maspeth Avenue in Maspeth.

The agency, a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said the rail company has committed its "full cooperation."

In addition to the looking at the safety culture, the analysis will cover the railway's compliance with federal regulations and its operational practices.

A rail safety team from the agency also will examine the railway's operating departments; engineer and conductor certification; grade crossings diagnostics; operation control center procedures and rail-traffic controller training; and human factors.

New York & Atlantic president Paul Victor said the railroad will offer its "full cooperation" and looks forward to "demonstrating our excellent track record of operating our railroad in a safe, professional and regulatory compliant manner."

The New York & Atlantic train was hauling trash when it hit the tractor-trailer, according to The Associated Press. The truck caught fire and was dragged 100 to 200 feet.

The truck driver jumped out before his vehicle caught fire and was treated for minor injuries.

The train conductor and engineer refused medical attention.

In April, a freight train carrying lumber for New York & Atlantic Railway derailed just west of the Wyandanch LIRR station and crushed a signal box. The Queens-based freight carrier leases LIRR tracks that run parallel to and near the commuter tracks.

In May 2014, three cars of a seven-car freight train operated by New York & Atlantic Railway partially derailed at the LIRR Jamaica station. No one was injured.

With Alfonso Castillo

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