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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Metrolink Commuter Train and Stake Bed Truck

Executive Summary

On January 6, 2003, about 9:30 a.m. Pacific standard time, eastbound Metrolink commuter train 210 struck a Ford F-550 crew cab, stake bed truck at the North Buena Vista Street grade crossing in Burbank, California. Upon impact, the truck's fuel tank was compromised, releasing fuel and resulting in a postcrash fire that consumed the stake bed, which remained at the crossing, while the truck's cab, which was not on fire, continued eastward with the train. The train derailed and came to a stop about 1,300 feet east of the crossing. The cab and second cars of the train came to rest on their sides; the remaining two cars and the locomotive remained upright. The truckdriver was fatally injured. Of the train's 59 passengers and 2 crewmembers, 32 sustained injuries; 1 passenger, who was treated and then released from a local hospital, died 15 days later from internal injuries that were probably sustained during the accident.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the design of the traffic signals' railroad hold interval, which displayed a flashing red arrow for the eastbound North San Fernando Boulevard left turn lane, improperly implying that, after stopping, the truckdriver was permitted to make a left turn onto North Buena Vista Street. Contributing to the accident was the lack of a raised median at the crossing that would have obstructed the path used by the truckdriver to make the left turn.

Accident Location: Burbank , CA    
Accident Date: 1/6/2003
Accident ID: HWY03FH013

Date Adopted: 12/2/2003
NTSB Number: HAR-03-04
NTIS Number: PB2003-916204