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The Nation

October 14, 1987

The crew members of Amtrak's California Zephyr "didn't have a chance" to stop once they spotted an open switch routing the passenger train onto a side track, where it plowed into a construction crane, an engineer in the lead locomotive said of the collision near Russell, Iowa. The Monday collision jolted the 16-unit train to a stop and knocked all but three of its cars off the track. Nearly half the 270 people on board were hurt. Investigators said there was no immediate explanation on why the switch was not aligned properly.

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