East Bay News

Amtrak restores service after train crash in Oakland

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Amtrak workers examine a train collision at an Oakland, Calif., station on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011.  (AP Photo/Noah Berger) Train at Amtraks Oakland Jack London Square station

Amtrak service through Oakland was back on track Thursday afternoon following the crash involving two trains at the Jack London Square station one day earlier.

More than a dozen people were hurt in the crash, though none of the injuries were serious.

The Federal Rail Administration is among the agencies investigating Wednesday evening's collision. Amtrak is also investigating, but not saying much, so it's still unclear as to how two massive trains ended up face-to-face on the same track.

Passengers on the two trains involved in last night's Amtrak train crash say it was like being in a slow-speed car accident without the benefits of a safety belt.

Michael Sanchez was waiting for his brother to arrive on the train platform.

"Me and my mom were just waiting for him, and all of a sudden we hear this big explosion and we thought it was a forklift," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the sound resembled a train hitting a car. "You could actually hear the crash sound itself," Sanchez said.

The north-bound Amtrak Coast Starlight train from Los Angeles was parked at the Jack London station when a south-bound San Joaquin train plowed into it.

Seventeen people on the two trains were injured. Most had minor injuries, including bumps and bruises. In one case, a person complained of neck strain, and in another a passenger had a broken arm.

Most of the injuries took place in the train that wasn't moving.

Though Amtrak released a brief statement right after the accident, it's not releasing many details. However, an Oakland fire official said he was informed by Amtrak that the south-bound train failed to stop at a red signal.

"My understanding is the train was traveling 15 to 25 miles per hour," said Batallion Chief Emon Usher with the Oakland Fire Department. "I've been on Amtrak trains and I know how fast they can go. This could've been a very bad accident."

After the damaged trains were removed and some overnight repairs to the track.

The station re-opened and service resumed around 8 a.m.

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oakland, amtrak, east bay news, laura anthony
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