Railroad News

Metrolink Train Hit Semi Truck at Dangerous, Unguarded UPRR Crossing

(Camarillo, California – August 24, 2012)

Two people, one a truck driver, the other a railroad passenger, were injured early Friday morning when a Metrolink commuter passenger train traveling on Union Pacific rails struck a semi-trailer truck at a dangerous, unguarded crossing near Camarillo, CA, extensively damaging several cars on the train and virtually destroying the truck and its trailer.

The unidentified truck driver was taken to a local hospital, as was the passenger, who complained of chest pains.

The truck was loaded with canisters containing 4,500 pounds of the agricultural fumigant methyl bromide, lengthy exposure to which, in high degrees of concentration, can produce effects similar to those caused by carbon monoxide including death.

The crossing, a farm road near Fifth Street east of Pleasant Valley Road, had no protection whatsoever, especially lacking devices such as flashing lights, bells and crossing gates, all of which could have prevented the crash. Railroad sources estimate that such warning devices can prevent more than 90% of all railroad crossing accidents.

Both Amtrak and Metrolink trains traverse the crossing daily as well as up to 16 Union Pacific freight trains with top allowable speeds for passenger traffic at 79 mph.

The crash brought instant reminiscence of the tragic 2008 Matrolink/Union Pacific collision in Chatsworth, CA that killed 25 and injured more than 100 to many of the 31 passengers on board.

Gaby Stradley, 40, of Ventura, CA said people on the forward passenger car she was riding started screaming after the impact, which also extinguished the lights. “I got nervous and scared,” she added.

Albert Acevedo, who lives in Oxnard and works in Van Nuys, CA, said he avoids riding in the front car as most of the casualties in the Chatsworth tragedy were riding in the first car.

Ventura County Fire Dept., Sheriff’s Office and Environmental Health Division all responded to the wreck as did the California Highway Patrol and officials from both Metrolink and Union Pacific.