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Commuter train and freight train collide in California

  : Thursday, November 18, 1999
A commuter train and a freight train collided near Fullerton, California injuring 18 people.
Fullerton 18 Nov 1999
photo: AP

Train buffs' Web site is first to post photos of wreck
Most days, Steve Grande and Ray Burns take sedate pictures of trains as they pass through the Fullerton train station and post them on TrainWeb, their Web site for railroad buffs.
But Wednesday, TrainWeb became Crash Central as the pair posted the first up-close photos of the wreck between a MetroLink commuter and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Freight train.

The accident occurred at about 08:15 on Thursday, November 18 and involved a passenger train operated by Metrolink and a BNSF freight train. The 65-car freight was being switched to a sideline when the 4-car Metrolink train collided with it. The passenger train, carrying 65 people and travelling at about 45 mph in the opposite direction.

The locomotive of the commuter train was derailed, but the passenger cars remained on the rails. Four freight cars were overturned and a further 6 were derailed. Fire broke out in the locomotive of the Metrolink train, but was extinguished by firefighters.

The Metrolink train was train No. 602 which had left Union Station in Los Angeles at 07:44. bound for Oceanside, San Diego.

The cause of the collision is unknown, but the signalling system does not permit two trains travelling in opposite directions to both get a green light. It is understood that the NTSB will investigate the cause of the collision.
Web sources:
  • 18 Injured In Metrolink Train Collision
    Channel 2000 18 Nov 1999
  • California Trains Collision Injures Up to 18
    Yahoo 18 Nov 1999
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    This file last updated: Saturday, 19-Feb-2000 21:24:59 EST
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