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CTY LTD Update
The purpose of this Information Bulletin is to bring everyone up to date
on what has happened since the CTY LTD Ratification.
Railroad workers have been fighting fatigue in the
rail industry for decades but the problem persists. We are now asking
you to help us document the problem.
Los Angeles train wreck
death toll rises to 17
Source: Associated Press
Published: September 13th 2008
Emergency crews found more victims early Saturday, boosting the death
toll to 17, as they delicately picked apart the mangled wreckage of a
commuter train that collided head-on with a freight train on the same
More victims were feared trapped in the wrecked Metrolink commuter
train. About 135 people were injured.
The impact rammed the Metrolink engine backward into a passenger car,
which rested on its side with the engine still inside it early Saturday,
and accordioned the freight train cars. Two other Metrolink cars
remained upright. Crews had to put out a fire under part of the train.
During the night, the teams used hydraulic jacks to keep the passenger
car from falling over and other specialized rescue equipment to gently
tear apart the metal.
Fire Capt. Steve Ruda said the goal was to eliminate every piece of
metal and gradually work down into the passenger spaces, but by midnight
crews were just getting through the top deck of the double-decker train.
"There's so much damage, we need to wait for heavier equipment," Ruda
said early Saturday.
Officials say there were 222 people on the Metrolink train and four
Union Pacific employees aboard the freight train.
The cause of the collision had not been determined.
"This is the worst accident I've ever seen," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
said. "Clearly the injuries are going to mount and so are the
Asked how the two trains ended up on the same track, Steven Kulm, a
spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration: "We are nowhere near
having any information on that."
Kulm said the federal investigation will be headed by the National
Transportation Safety Board, while his agency will conduct a review of
whether any federal rail safety regulations were violated.
Union Pacific spokeswoman Zoe Richmond said it is common in California
for freight and commuter trains to be on one track.
"You see it a lot in California where commuter trains share tracks with
freight trains," Richmond said, adding she couldn't speculate about the
cause of the crash.
Dr. Marc Eckstein, medical director for the city Fire Department, said
135 people were taken to hospitals — about 85 of them in serious or
In the initial hours after the disaster, firefighters treated the
injured at three triage areas near the wreck, and helicopters flew in
and out of a nearby landing area on evacuation flights. Dazed and
injured passengers sat on the ground and wandered about.
Leslie Burnstein saw the crash from her home and heard screams of agony
as she ran through a haze of smoke toward the wreckage. She pulled
victims out one by one.
"It was horrendous," said Burnstein, a psychologist. "Blood was
everywhere. ... I heard people yelling, screaming in pain, begging for
Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell said the Metrolink train left Union
Station in downtown Los Angeles and was headed northwest to Moorpark in
Ventura County. The trains collided at about 4:30 p.m. in the Chatsworth
area of the San Fernando Valley, near a 500-foot-long tunnel underneath
Stoney Point Park.
On the north side of the tunnel, there is a siding, a length of track
where one train can wait for another to pass, Tyrrell said.
"I do not know what caused the wreck," said Tyrrell who broke down
crying and was shaking. "Obviously two trains are not supposed to be on
the same track at the same time."
Until Friday, the worst disaster in Metrolink's history occurred on Jan.
26, 2005, in suburban Glendale when a man parked a gasoline-soaked SUV
on railroad tracks. A Metrolink train struck the SUV and derailed,
striking another Metrolink train traveling the other way, killing 11
people and injuring about 180 others. Juan Alvarez was convicted this
year of murder for causing the crash.