2 sled dogs fatally struck by train at Alaska Railroad crossing
Two sled dogs from a team that stopped on Alaska Railroad tracks near Nenana died when they were hit by a train, according to railroad officials.
Tim Sullivan, the railroad’s director of external affairs, said that the incident was reported at about 11 a.m. Friday, at a grade crossing near Mile 420 of the railroad tracks. Neither the musher, who was riding an all-terrain vehicle being pulled by the team, nor anyone on board the train were injured.
“My understanding from our crew is that the musher tried to stop the dogs before the crossing; they continued to cross the tracks,” Sullivan said. “When he tried to get them to start up again to cross, to continue across the crossing, the dogs did not start back up again.”
The train’s crew sounded its horn and tried to stop when it saw the dogs, but wasn’t able to stop in time to avoid hitting the team.
Sullivan said the musher, whose name wasn’t being released by the railroad, will not face any charges or citations according to railroad police. The railroad is urging people to exercise caution at crossings to avoid any such future collisions.
“We encourage anyone in any transportation, be it a dog sled team or a vehicle, to really pay heed to the crossbars and the safety warnings at crossings,” Sullivan said. “Those are the most dangerous locations, not just here in Alaska but everywhere, for incidents and accidents that can cause tragic situations like this one.”