The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary report into a head-on crash between two Sacramento Regional Transit trains that injured 27 people in August 2019. The report confirmed the blue line No. 9 train with revenue passengers crashed into a stopped maintenance light rail vehicle the night of Aug. 22 at Marconi Avenue and Roseville Road, west of the Winter Street light rail station. The report also revealed the No. 9 train was running about 15 minutes behind schedule.
The report from the NTSB detailed that a maintenance train had requested and was given verbal permission from the controller at the Metro Control Center to get on the mainline track for propulsion testing. The technician was testing the train’s throttle, reaching speeds of 50 mph before coming to a stop on the tracks. According to the NTSB, the technician reversed and was southbound on the track. At the same time, the No. 9 train was headed northbound on the same track. The report said the train with the passengers was going approximately 32 mph at the time of the crash with clear weather conditions.
“At the time of the accident, extra train movements were verbally authorized to occupy the main track. Regularly scheduled train movements were governed by signal indication. The territory was under SacRT Metro control with the radio operator located in the control center,” the NTSB wrote in its report. The cause of the crash was not listed on the report. The NTSB said its investigation will now focus on “rail operations of SacRT, signal system operations, the performance of SacRT employees, and management oversight of the property, both internal and external.”
SacRT released the following statement in response to the report: “The investigation is still ongoing and the preliminary report didn’t share any new information.” “SacRT implemented various corrective improvement actions immediately following the light rail train incident on August 22, 2019. The two actions that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requested were immediately addressed. SacRT worked with the CPUC on an agreement, which entails that SacRT have at a minimum two people in the control room whenever there is a revenue service train on the main line and that SacRT will also only test trains on the main line after revenue service. “SacRT is cooperating with all regulatory agencies as they investigate the incident and will swiftly act to implement any recommendations.”
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