June 24--BERLIN -- Six people were hurt Monday morning when a tree-trimming truck parked on a commuter rail track was hit by an Amtrak train traveling about 70 mph, police said.
The driver of the truck was inside the vehicle, but the rest of the crew was not. They were waiting for someone to open a locked gate at the end of Norton Road so they could begin work near power lines, police said.
The accident occurred about about 9:40 a.m., police said. A woodchipper at the rear of the truck was struck by the train, got under its wheels and caused the front axles the go off the tracks and spark a small electrical fire, officials said.
Berlin firefighters, aided by nearby departments, responded to the remote site and extiguished the fire.
"We're lucky nobody was killed or seriously hurt," Police Chief Paul Fitzgerald said. The accident occurred at 9:40 a.m. on tracks just south of the Berlin railroad station.
Amtrak spokesman Craig Schultz said Monday afternoon that five injured train passengers and the truck driver were brought by ambulances to hospitals. He did not know if any of the six were admitted but said he's been told that no one had life-threatening injuries.
There were 45 passengers on the train, No. 490 from New Haven to Springfield. The uninjured passengers were put on buses to get to their destinations, he said.
Crews with heavy cranes worked Monday afternoon to put the train back on the tracks so the line could be cleared and the tracks inspected, Schulz said. Service was resumed on the line by 4:15 p.m., according to Amtrak, but residual delays were expected as trains moved slowly through the area.
There is not a public crossing on Norton Road where the collision occurred. It's not clear when the train crew realized when there was a vehicle on the tracks, Schulz said.
On Sunday, there was a similar but fatal train-truck accident south of Boston. Three people on an SUV on tracks in a wooded section of Mansfield Mass., were killed when an Amtrak train slammed into their truck.
--Courant staff writer Kelly Glista contributed to this story.
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