An accident at an Amtrak train station in Oakland injured 17 passengers last night. A number of the injured were taken to area hospitals for treatment of injuries that were described as non-life threatening. As of early this morning, service at the station remained suspended.
The accident occurred as one train had stopped at the station to allow passengers to disembark. At that point another train crashed into it. It was described as a low speed collision with the moving train travelling at 15 to 10 mile per hour. The passengers described a large jolt when the trains collided.
The battalion Chief for the Oakland Fire Department indicated that he had been told by train officials that one of the trains had gone through a stop signal, like a red traffic light for trains. An Amtrak spokesman declined to comment on the reports that the train had run through a stop signal.
This crash marks the second area Amtrak crash in the last couple of weeks to have caused injuries to train passengers. On September 30th more than 30 passengers were injured when a train struck a truck at a crossing.
Often when a train is involved in an accident there was little that the train operator could do to avoid the crash. Always travelling along rail s and taking a significant amount of space to start and stop, a train is not subject to all of the same risks as other motor vehicles. But this case where missing a stop signal led to a crash demonstrates the importance of train operators paying their full attention to their task.
Source: CBS News "17 suffer minor injuries in California train crash," Oct. 13, 2011