An Amtrak passenger train struck a van at a crossing in southeastern Louisiana on Friday, killing four people in the van. Amtrak’s “City of New Orleans” train was en route to New Orleans from Chicago when it struck the vehicle at a crossing north of Independence at an intersection that had no crossing arms or lights.

The National Black MBA Association organized a unique job fair where the unemployed board the train with representatives from companies like First Tennessee and Service Master.

Amtrak is the largest intercity railroad passenger carrier in the United States. Amtrak is owned and operated by a company called the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. Amtrack is not a government agency but it does receive governmnent funding which allows Amtrak to compete with the airline and automobile industry. Since its founding in 1971, Amtraks safety record has been plagued by serious accidents that often resulted in the deaths of innocent people.

Amtrak began operations May 1, 1971. Amtrak’s first passenger train, Train 173 (Clocker), departed New York Penn Station at 12:05 a.m. on May 1 en route to Philadelphia 30th Street Station with a GG1 inherited from Penn Central. The following is a list of Amtrak accidents that have occured in the last ten years:

May 6, 2003: An Amtrak train collides with a lumber truck in southeast Georgia, killing the engineer and the truck driver.

July 29, 2002: An Amtrak train carrying about 200 people derails near Washington, injuring 101 passengers.

April 23, 2002: A freight train plows head-on into a Metrolink commuter train in Placentia, Calif., during the morning rush hour, killing two people and injuring about 260.

April 18, 2002: An Amtrak Auto Train derails at Crescent City, Fla., killing four and injuring more than 150.

March 17, 2001: An Amtrak train carrying 210 people from Chicago to California derails in rural southwest Iowa, killing one passenger and injuring about 90 others.

Feb. 5, 2001: An Amtrak train collides with a freight train on the same track in Syracuse, N.Y., injuring 61 people.

Nov. 4, 2000: An Amtrak train derails after hitting a truck near Moorpark, Calif., killing the truck driver and injuring about 30 people on the train.

March 15, 2000: An Amtrak train derails alongside a cornfield near Carbondale, Kan., injuring 29 passengers.

Sept. 20, 1999: An Amtrak train rear-ends a freight train in a rail yard in Cumberland, Md., injuring 37 people.

March 15, 1999: An Amtrak train hits a truck and derails near Bourbonnais, Ill., killing 11 people and injuring more than 100.

June 18, 1998: A Chicago-bound commuter train slams into a tractor-trailer carrying large steel coils in Portage, Ind., hurling one of the coils into a rail car, killing three passengers and injuring four others.

February 16, 1996: Eleven people were killed and 26 injured when an Amtrak passenger train smashed head-on into a commuter train in Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington.

October 9, 1995: A crew member was killed and 78 people were injured in the sabotage of an Amtrak train in the Arizona desert, southwest of Phoenix. The train was en route to Los Angeles from Florida.

June 8, 1995: Seven members of a farming family were killed when an Amtrak train slammed into their pickup truck at a rural crossing equipped with stop signs in eastern Oregon, near Nyssa.

May 16, 1994: An engineer was killed and more than 350 people were injured when a Florida-bound Amtrak train from New York derailed after hitting a truck near Smithfield, North Carolina.

September 22, 1993: In Amtrak’s deadliest accident, 47 people were killed near Mobile, Alabama, when a tugboat smashed into a river bridge, causing it to collapse as an Amtrak train was passing over. It was the deadliest accident in Amtrak’s 27-year history. The national railroad’s worst previous crash killed 16 people in January 1987 when an Amtrak train collided with the rear of three Conrail locomotives in Essex, Maryland.

March 17, 1993: Six people were killed and a dozen injured when an Amtrak train rammed a truck at a railway crossing near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Amite Fire Department confirmed two passengers were thrown from the van, and the other two were pinned inside, WBRZ-TV of Baton Rouge reported. All died at the scene.

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