Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

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  by Frozen
Metrolink involved in serious crash

Sheriff's Deputy Byron Ward confirmed two deaths in the Friday afternoon wreck.

The crash was reported around 4:23 p.m. near Heather Lee Lane, south of the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway and east of Topanga Canyon Boulevard, according to d'Lisa Davies of the city Fire Department.

Fire crews on the scene report that there are 10 critically injured people inside that derailed Metrolink train, and three require extrication. Crews said at least 23 people have been injured.

"There could have been as many as 350 people on that train," said Denise Tyrell, a Metrolink spokeswoman.

One passenger car is on its side and on fire. Several people are trapped in the car, and firefighters are working to free the passengers.

Witness Stacy Sullivan told KNBC that the Metrolink train appeared to crash into the rear of the freight train.

"I think the freight train was either stopped or going very slow," Sullivan said.

The Metrolink train was identified as No. 111.

At least seven freight cars derailed.

An air ambulance was called to the scene. A triage area was established near the crash site.

On Jan. 26, 2005, 11 people died and dozens of people were injured when a Metrolink train slammed into a Jeep Cherokee that had been parked on the train tracks in Atwater Village. The train derailed, struck another train traveling in the opposite direction and hit a freight train.

That derailment was the deadliest U.S. train crash since 1999.

On Aug. 20, the man who parked the Jeep on the tracks -- 29-year-old Juan Manuel Alvarez -- was sentenced to 11 consecutive life prison terms.



Anyone care to tell me which engine is that in the wreck? I m hoping its not the new MP ones.
  by ajt
Looks like 855.

This is BAD; we will be hearing about this accident for months...
  by Spokker
It reminds me of the Placentia accident some years ago. In that incident BNSF was to blame.

Today's crash happened on track that is owned/managed by Metrolink and the train was in pull mode. Hopefully it won't start another push-pull fiasco. I really hope Metrolink isn't at fault here.
  by Murjax
This has to be one of the worst wrecks I've seen in a while. Unfortunatly I think they are still counting up fatalities. Hopefully the number stays low. We're already up to 11 I think. I'll be keeping the victims in my prayers.
  by Tom6921
The engine of the Metrolink train was hit, so the train must have been in pull mode. If we're to 11 dead, this crash now is just as bad as the Glendale crash. It goes to show that if a locomotive had been leading, it might not have made a big difference.
  by pennsy
They just had the LA Mayor, and some dignitaries on TV. So far they anticipate 20 fatalities, mostly in the first car which telescoped into the engine on impact. First five windows of the bilevel passenger car were intruded by the engine. That area should seat about 80 people. That should be the area where the fatalities and most serious injuries occured.
  by Spokker
First NIMBY resident is on the news now complaining about the tracks and how fast the freight trains go. He says he "noticed" they go too fast and that he's concerned for his safety.

Holy moly this guy's nuts. The reporter actually mentioned that the tracks were there before his house was, but he isn't having any of that!
  by thirdtrick
Not familiar with this area at all, but just looking at the google map & pictures there appears to be a siding not far (maybe 1,000') South, behind the Metrolink... can't help but wonder if that's where this little meet was supposed to happen.
  by Spokker
The station itself is double track. Here's what I read on another forum by someone who is more knowledgeable than I on this area.
The Chatsworth station is double-track. About 2/3 mile north at CP Topanga, the siding track ends onto the main track. The line is single-track from there through the mountains until Simi Valley.

If the single-track stretch was assigned for the westbound Metrolink's use by the dispatcher, the freight train would have needed to ignore two red signals (one in Simi and another on the east side of the hill) to collide with the Metrolink train where it did.

What is therefore much more likely is that the Metrolink train was supposed to hold at CP Topanga and allow the freight train to take the siding and clear the single-track. This indicates the signal malfunctioned or the engineer ran the red signal at CP Topanga.
Can anyone else add anything to this assessment?

I've only been through this area a handful of times on Metrolink and the Surfliners.
  by FCP503
This is an extremely bad accident. If you look at the pics closely you can see the the Metrolink F59 telescoped inside the first Bombardier passenger car. It looks like the frame of the first passenger car slid underneath the frame of the F59, peeling the trucks and fuel tank off the unit. If you look at the top pic you can see the fuel tank from the F59 laying next to the front truck of the lead UP SD70ACE. One of the trucks from the F59 is even furthur from the Metrolink unit. I can't see where the other truck went. It appears that the carbody of the F59 is telescoped at least halfway into the first passenger car.

I would estimate that the UP train was moving at moderate speed judging by the fact that only the first seven or so cars accordianed. For the Metrolink train to telescope like that I would surmise that it was moving at a rather high speed. But that is only a guess based on the damage.

I fear that the fatality count will be very very high.
  by FCP503
Looking at the pictures more closely I can see that one of the Blomberg trucks from the Metrolink F59 is actually lodged in the lower floor of the first passenger car. (Where you can see the peeled away portion of the lower floor of the car) About half the occupants section of the first floor of the first passenger car is gone about half the length of the car. The F59 is actually sitting telescoped inside the upper floor of the first car. That would mean that the UPPER floor telescoped under the frame of the F59???

This is bad. This is very very bad.
  by Jtgshu
Im absolutely shocked at the amount of telescoping damage there was in that bilevel car with the Metrolink engine.

This wreck looks like sometihng from the 1910s and 20s instead of in 2008 with state of the art (within the past decade at least) equipment.

Is it an inherent flaw in the design of a bilevel car that would allow that kind of damage (not having a single solid frame running the length of the car) or has the FRA collision standards for locos actually too strong now and the locos survive while the car behind the loco takes the brunt of the damage, and in the case of a passenger train, most of the fatalities?

As an engineer, I appreciate the standards, but at what point has it gone too far? The cars are supposed to accordian, NOT telescope, not in this day and age..........

My thoughts are with all involved, my deceased brother railroaders, the deceased and injured passengers and their families, and the first responders and all those involved and touched by this horrific accident :(
  by RPM2Night
Spokker wrote:It reminds me of the Placentia accident some years ago. In that incident BNSF was to blame.

Today's crash happened on track that is owned/managed by Metrolink and the train was in pull mode. Hopefully it won't start another push-pull fiasco. I really hope Metrolink isn't at fault here.
In this one, the engine was leading. I'm sure the concern that will be brought up from this is how sturdy passenger cars are. It's hard to believe that the engine and 1st car telescoped so badly. I'm sure the FRA will implement higher standards for crash protection.
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