Friday, April 04, 2008

VTA presents preliminary findings on light rail derailment

At last night's board meeting, VTA General Manager Michael Burns presented preliminary findings on 3/21 light rail derailment. Below are the key slides of the presentation.

Simulation of the Incident:

Actions taken:

On the day of the incident, the southbound platform was open for service and the northbound track was closed. Normally, trains should stop outside of the crossover and wait for the other train to exit the single track area. At the time, the train involved in the derailment entered the crossover and stopped on top of a switch. The operator then reversed the train. Afterwards, the rear two axles got routed onto the crossover track, which caused the train to derail and hit a power pole. There was a northbound train stopped on the single track segment more than 600 feet south of the crossover.

According to Burns, the derailment caused over $1 million damage to the light rail vehicle.

At San Jose Inside, one of the passengers wrote a blog post about the derailment and complained that the VTA operator was of no help to passengers. Currently there's is no clear instruction during an emergency inside the VTA light rail cars. On BART, emergency information is prominently displayed by the doors. On Muni, which Michael Burns formerly ran, also posts emergency information in the center section of each light rail car.

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