(Colton, California – October 18, 2011)
Officials of two of the nation’s largest railroads are attempting to determine how a southbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad freight train missed a red signal and collided mid-train with a westbound Union Pacific freight early Tuesday morning about 2:15 A.M., causing a shutdown of Interstate Highway 10, closing two schools and disrupting Metrolink rail service in Colton, CA.
The 90 degree crossing of the two railroads’ main lines is beneath I-10, and the derailment may have caused damage to a freeway support. The site of the collision is just east of Union Pacific’s gigantic West Colton classification yard, one of the nation’s largest rail facilities. Six cars of the UPRR train were knocked off the tracks, five of which were carrying either asphalt or highly corrosive ferrous chloride.
Students at Colton High School and Woodrow Wilson Elementary Schools received an unplanned vacation, as school officials felt the situation could pose danger for the nearby schools.