Safety inspectors are looking into what caused a Municipal Railway train accident that injured 48 people–four severely–after one train rear-ended another at the West Portal Station on July 18, 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The train crash occurred when a L-Taraval train rammed the rear of a K-Ingleside train near the station’s boarding platform. The impact from the train collision reportedly shattered the front window of the L train and crumpled its steel nose.
The driver of the L train was the most seriously injured. Three commuters also suffered major injuries, but are said to be in stable condition. Also, 24 people suffered serious injuries and were taken to area hospitals by ambulance. The rest apparently suffered relatively minor injuries. Officials say this is the largest train accident the Municipal Railway has had. Eyewitnesses said they saw many victims suffer head and neck injuries.
My heart goes out to all the injured victims of this California train crash. I’m, however, relieved that no one suffered life-threatening injuries. I wish all the injured victims the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep them in your prayers.
The federal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has now launched a formal probe into the train crash. Investigators are also looking into whether the driver of the L train was under the influence or somehow distracted at the time of the crash. This incident is another horrific addition to a series of recent and deadly train accidents nationwide. A similar train crash occurred in Washington D.C. last month when a Metro commuter train struck the rear of another subway train killing nine people and injuring scores of others. In May, a Boston trolley car crashed into another injuring 49 people. In September, 20 people were killed in the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident when a commuter train slammed into a freight train. In that case, the engine driver was determined to have been texting seconds before the crash.
In this particular San Francisco train accident, some eyewitnesses reported that the sound of the crash and resultant damage suggest that the L train was going faster than it usually would have in approaching the station. Officials have still not determined what caused the crash. But I trust they will look into many factors including the speed of the train; whether the signals were working; the attention of the L train driver (distracted, intoxicated or fatigued); mechanical malfunction in the L train; human error.
The victims of this San Francisco train accident would be well-advised to consult with an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will protect their legal rights and make sure an injury claim is promptly filed seeking compensation for injuries and damages relating to the train crash. Please do not talk to any insurance carriers or attorneys for the Railroad or sign any papers before you have consulted with an experienced California train accident attorney.