No one injured when Sounder train strikes car stuck on tracks at Dayton Street Friday

The aftermath of the car-train collision Friday night. (Photo by Chris Kelley)

No one was injured when a northbound Sounder commuter train hit a vehicle stuck on the railroad tracks at Dayton Street near the Edmonds train station just after 6 p.m. Friday night.

Dayton Street was closed while police investigated the incident. A tow truck was called to remove the car, which became stuck after the male driver mistakenly turned southbound from Dayton onto the tracks, believing it was Railroad Avenue, said Edmonds police spokesperson Sgt. Shane Hawley.

“The driver tried to back off the tracks and the (crossing) arms came down,” Hawley said. At that point, the driver and his passenger “decided that would be a great time to get out of the car and off the tracks,” he added.

Sound Transit provided a bus to transport passengers from the delayed Sounder train — the last of the evening — to their final destinations in Mukilteo and Everett, said Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher. BNSF was inspecting the tracks to see if there was any damage, he added.



  1. Isn’t this the third time someone has turned unto the tracks at the Dayton St. crossing in the past year or two? I realize there is only so much the city and railroad can do to protect people from themselves, but maybe a fresh look at the crossing is needed.

  2. Very poorly trained driver. What were they thinking? Should have license revoked. Ridiculous. Could have been much worse.

  3. The bigger problem is the absence of street lighting. If the railroad crossing was lighted at night, drivers would see it’s not a roadway.

    There are no street lights at all on Dayton west of Sunset. It’s hard to believe that Harbor Square was developed with no street lights on its only access road. There is one dim orange street light, flashing on and off on the west side of Railroad Avenue, but it doesn’t illuminate the railroad tracks.

  4. A few years ago a Community Transit articulated bus was struck and dragged down the tracks by a southbound BNSF freight train that plowed into it. The bus had no passengers and became stuck on tracks when the driver tied to back up and and the bus stalled after making a left turn from Railroad Ave and encountered the right lane on Dayton blocked by a work crew. The bus driver jumped out of the bus before it was hit. The bus was totaled and the crossing arms ,lights and control box were destroyed.

  5. If you’ve ever driven westbound on Dayton, especially in the evening/night, there are numerous things contributing to the confusion.
    This is, of course, discounting any ‘alcohol may be involved’ situations.

    1) The lighting, as Roger mentioned.
    2) the road grade descends slightly after the crossing, making the sightlines a challenge.
    3) the ‘street corner’ is ill-defined, as in there is no ‘corner’ so speak of, no curb or fog-line to follow,
    4) along with the fact the fence doesn’t start until about 25′ north of the crossing.

    The visual environment is confusing.

    What this leads to is drivers ‘cutting the corner’. Some way too soon, and dropping their wheels onto the tracks and guiding their car down the tracks themselves, and other drivers missing the tracks, and just damaging the car as they bounce over the curbing and onto Railroad Ave.

    What can be done?

    One way could be to visually define the area that is for cars, and the area that is for pedestrians.
    If it weren’t on railroad property, (and excluding an actual poured sidewalk), at least a fog line would give a clue to drivers where the ‘edge’ of the road is. Which in this case would be a visual signal to the driver to make a broader sweep.

    The railroad I’m sure won’t put anything on their ROW that would hint of a ‘safe zone’ for pedestrians (i.e. a marked crosswalk).

    Of course there are liability issues, and we know the railroad would rather not have any grade crossings, so this would be a battle of the underwriters, I suppose.

    1. Thanks for raising these additional points, Jim. I agree completely. I’ll check with the City Traffic Engineer~ I expect there are things that can be done to improve safety at this crossing, without running into railroad issues. I’m thinking a highly-reflective fog line, along with adequate street lighting.

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