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The Associated Press July 12, 2011, 1:40PM ET

Rail officials: Amtrak's Downeaster is safe

The operator of Amtrak's Downeaster says the Boston-to-Portland service is safe, despite the most serious accident in the nine-year history of the service.

On Monday, a truck driver was killed after his rig hauling garbage skidded into the path of the Downeaster, causing a fiery explosion. Four passengers and two Amtrak employees were injured.

Patricia Quinn of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority says there have been about a dozen incidents involving vehicles or people who have strayed onto the tracks but none come close to Monday's tragedy. She says those dozen are out of 31,000 trains that have made the trip.

Operation Lifesaver, which is dedicated to rail safety, says Monday's collision was the first crossing fatality in at least four years in Maine.

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