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Metro Expo Line test train strikes truck and derails in Santa Monica

Expo Line test train derails after collision

An Expo Line test train moves into Santa Monica during a July test run. A light-rail train derailed after striking a truck that crossed the tracks.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A Metro Expo Line test train derailed Thursday afternoon after a collision with a truck in Santa Monica, officials said. 

No passengers were on board, and the Metro operator was not injured.The truck driver was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.

The crash is the first significant incident for this section of the light-rail line, which is expected to begin passenger service between Culver City and Santa Monica next year. Test trains have been running for six months. 

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Both vehicles were both headed west on Colorado Boulevard at noon when the truck turned left across the tracks to reach 7th Street, the Santa Monica Fire Department said. Left turns are illegal at that intersection. 

The light-rail train struck the left side of the truck’s cab, and the force of the impact forced the train’s wheels off the track, Metro spokeswoman Anna Chen said.

The exact cause of the derailment is under investigation. 

The truck driver was hauling a light load of lumber in a flatbed trailer, Fire Department spokesman Tom Clemo said.

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The speed limit along Colorado Boulevard is 35 mph, Chen said, and the train was probably moving slower than that at the time of the crash. 

“We want people to keep their heads up and watch for trains,” Chen said, adding that Metro will continue to run test trains through the area until passenger service begins.

For more transportation news, follow @laura_nelson on Twitter.

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