A 43-year-old woman, her daughter, and two other girls were traveling to Marissa Junior/Senior High School around 7:45 a.m. when the driver apparently drove in front of the oncoming train, said Marissa Police Chief Michael Kerperien.
"According to the conductor, the driver made no attempt to stop and drove into the path of the train," Kerperien said.
The woman, her daughter and one of the girls were pronounced dead at the scene. The fourth girl was taken to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Kerperien said.
Cardinal Glennon spokesman Bob Davidson confirmed a minor victim from the crash was at the hospital but declined to release condition information, citing the child's age and privacy laws.
The victims' identities were being withheld pending family notification, Kerperien said. The St. Clair County coroner's office was called to the scene, but did not immediately have information about the victims.
The collision occurred at the main railroad crossing in Marissa, about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis in St. Clair County, Canadian National spokesman Jim Kvedaras said.