Oxnard, CA: NTSB issues preliminary report

23 Mar

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a preliminary report of its investigation into the fatal collision of a train with a truck stranded on the railway adjacent to a level crossing in Oxnard.

The collision occurred at about 05.44 am on February 24th, 2015 when a Metrolink commuter train carrying 46 passengers and 3 crew members collided with an unoccupied utility service truck towing a two-axle utility trailer. The collision occurred about 25 metres from a level crossing on South Rice Avenue. The train driver died 7 days after being injured, and 31 passengers and 2 crew sustained injuries ranging from minor to serious.

Prior to the impact, the driver of the truck was traveling south on South Rice Avenue, approaching the intersection of East 5th Street onto which he intended to make aright turn. However, approximately 17 metres before the highway intersection, the driver of the truck encountered an automatic crossing equipped with lights, barriers, warning signs and pavement markings. Instead of turning right at the highway intersection, the truck driver turned right onto the railway.

The truck was driven along the railway in a westerly direction for about 25 metres at which point it became stuck straddling the most southerly rail. Subsequently the level crossing activated for an approaching train and, at some point, the truck driver jumped clear of his cab and left the scene of the ensuing collision.

The train was being driven by a trainee under the supervision of an experienced driver As the train approached the South Rice Avenue level crossing, the trainee driver began to sound the train horn as required, approximately 400 metres before the train arrived at the level crossing at which point a collision occurred.

A post-collision fire ensued on the pavement of the level crossing, in which the  trailer was partially consumed by the fire. A portion of the  trailer came to rest next to the level crossing; and most of the truck was carried eastward along the track, where remnants of the vehicle came to rest on the south side of the track bed. During the collision sequence, all four of the train’s cars derailed, three of which overturned and came to rest on their sides. The locomotive at the rear of the train did not derail.

 

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