Train creates 'close call' at Garner Christmas parade


Before the parade ended on Saturday, eyewitnesses say an Amtrak train blew through town less than 100 feet from where people were standing. Those eyewitnesses say the train did not slow down.

The Garner Christmas parade route crossed the tracks twice. It's a busy track where both freight and Amtrak trains frequently pass by. 

The town tells ABC 11 that there was a "go slow" order in effect because of the parade but some are questioning if an Amtrak train that came through Saturday followed that order.

Patrick Hayes lives just across the street from the tracks on Main Street. He was also outside Saturday morning snapping pictures when he saw a sight he thought he'd never see.

"It was kind of neat to see a train go through the middle of a parade," said Hayes.

Pictures show just how close people where to the tracks as the train passed by. And, as best as Hayes could tell, the train was moving at a clip.

"We heard the train whistle and it just shot through like normal," said Hayes. "It may have been a touch slower, but not much."

"I'm not sure what the rate of speed was but it was probably not what most people would characterize as slow," said Town of Garner PIO Rick Mercier.

Mercier says the Town of Garner sent an email last month to Norfolk Southern, the company that operates the track. and requested a "go slow" order for Saturday.

"We received confirmation from them beforehand that they received the request and that everything was set," said Mercier.

Mercier was at the parade. He says, ideally, the train would have passed through at a lower rate of speed, especially after the town told Norfolk Southern about the event.

"Our expectation when we file one of these orders and get a confirmation is that, of course, it will be followed and in the past, that's been our experience," said Mercier.

The Town of Garner is talking with the railroad company to try to figure out exactly what happened. Robin Chapman from Norfolk Southern told ABC 11 that a go slow order was not in place Saturday, even though the town of Garner did request it. They are working to figure out what went wrong.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | See Click Fix
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook

Copyright © 2024 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.