Worker died after being struck by railroad maintenance gear

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VAIL, Ariz. (AP) — Investigators say a Union Pacific Railroad employee who died five weeks ago in an on-the-job accident in southern Arizona was struck by a piece of by maintenance equipment that’s used to tamp on wood crossties that sit underneath tracks.

In a preliminary report released, the National Transportation Safety Board said Union Pacific employee James Morgan was inspecting crossties on Jan. 31 near Vail, Arizona, and had been walking between the rails and in front of the machinery, which sat on top of the tracks.

Another person who was operating the equipment had finished tamping a crosstie, tried to stop at another crosstie but continued going forward and struck Morgan, who later died from his injuries.

The operator of the equipment also suffered minor injuries.

Authorities say the investigation is continuing and will focus on Union Pacific’s operating rules, the condition of the equipment and on-track safety procedures when employees are working near moving maintenance equipment.

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