In the last decade, there have been four major train crashes that have taken place in California. We’ve outlined the causes of these crashes below.
In 2005, an SUV was left abandoned on the tracks near the Glendale-Los Angeles border. A southbound commuter train, crashed into it, derailed, and struck two other trains: a stationary freight train and a passing northbound train. The crash resulted 11 deaths, and was considered the deadliest crash in the U.S. since 1999.
The Glendale crash was quickly overtaken as the deadliest by the Chatsworth train collision in 2008. With 25 deaths, it is still considered the deadliest accident in Metrolink’s history. A Metrolink commuter train failed to yield to another train who had been given the right of way before entering a section of single track, running through a red signal and colliding head-on with a freight train. This accident set in motion the filing of many legal claims and resulted in the Rail Safety and Improvement Act of 2008.
A train derailed in Oxnard in 2015 when it collided with a truck. The collision resulted in the death of the engineer and 29 injuries. An investigation into the crash by the Federal Railroad Administration uncovered that the cowcatcher and a coupler on the train both had manufacturing flaws. In addition, the tracks were on a steep grade and the truck appeared to be stuck.
Also in 2015, Metro’s Expo Line collided with a vehicle that was turning left across the tracks and derailed the train. Despite a red traffic signal, flashing lights and the words “watch for trains” printed on the first car, the driver failed to yield. While no deaths occurred, the driver was seriously injured and 10 other people received minor injuries. This accident sparked discussions about further safety measures needing to be implemented.
When you need railroad construction, safety measures are important to consider. Ongoing inspections and maintenance are also key to keeping those rails fully operational and avoiding accidents that could have been prevented. If you’re considering starting a new railroad construction project or need help making sure your railroads are in good, working condition, contact Sharp & Fellows, Inc.!