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Historic Railway Disasters
08 Feb 99

Sacremento: Head-on collision on light rail system

Sacremento 8 February 1999: Two "light-rail" trains of the Sacremento Regional Transit collided on a single track bridge on Monday February 8, 1999.

Twenty-seven people were hurt, although none seriously in the collision. It occurred at about 1115 between a service train carrying 30 passengers and a train which had earlier broken down. This train was being propelled by another to a repair facility. Both trains were travelling at about 10 mph.

Why two trains should be travelling in opposite directions on the same stretch of track is not clear. It is thought that the disabled train was travelling against a red, danger signal, although with the authority of the control centre. Any failure in the track, the signalling system or the overhead power lines has been ruled out. An investigation was commenced immediately and will concentrate initially on the condition of the rolling stock and will examine the recorded communications between the train crews and the control center.

Sacremento's light rail system has been operating for 12 years without incident. The bridge on which the accident occurred is due to be double-tracked within two years.

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by R H State


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