EDMONTON - Two girls and a man were killed when the vehicle they were in was struck by a passenger train Monday during a blinding snowstorm in west Edmonton.

Via spokeswoman Catherine Kaloutsky says the collision happened at a level crossing protected by gates, lights and bells. No one on the train was physically hurt.

"We have 227 passengers on board the train, none of whom sustained any injuries," Kaloutsky said Tuesday. "Our two engineers, understandably, have requested relief."

None of the 11 other crew members on board was hurt.

Kaloutsky said the westbound train en route from Toronto to Vancouver hit the truck around 8:15 a.m. While there were whiteout conditions at the time, investigators have not indicated if they were a factor.

A witness at the scene was quoted as saying she heard a "loud crash like a door slamming and I saw the vehicle fly, and when the train left I wasn't sure if I was imagining it."

Police say the girls were both under 10.

The lead locomotive in the Via train sustained minor damage and was repaired, Kaloutsky added.

Kaloutsky said the coroner released the train before 3 p.m. and it was expected to reach Vancouver sometime Wednesday afternoon.

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