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Metrolink train crashes into bus stalled on tracks in San Bernardino; no serious injuries reported

Metrolink train crashes into bus stalled on tracks in San Bernardino; no serious injuries reported
An empty Omnitrans bus that had broken down on Metrolink tracks in San Bernardino sustained significant damage when it was struck by a train Monday night, but there were no serious injuries reported. (Omnitrans)

A bus that broke down on train tracks in San Bernardino was struck by a Metrolink train Monday night, but no one was seriously injured in the collision.

The bus stopped on the tracks about 6:40 p.m. between West Rialto Avenue and West 5th Street. The driver had experienced mechanical difficulties earlier in the day so the vehicle was put out of service, Omnitrans spokeswoman Wendy Williams said.

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While the driver was taking the empty bus to an Omnitrans facility for repairs, it stopped in the middle of the train tracks.

“He attempted to restart the vehicle a couple of times, was unable to do that and realized that a Metrolink train was approaching,” Williams said.

The driver got out of the bus and began walking on the tracks and waving at the approaching train with a reflective safety vest he had been wearing.

The engineer was able to apply the emergency brakes before the collision, slowing the train from 55 mph to about 40 mph before the crash.

The collision pushed the bus to the side of the tracks. The train, which had 49 passengers aboard at the time, sustained minor damage, Williams said. Video footage of the scene showed the impact created a large dent and shattered several of the bus’ windows.

Two passengers and the train’s conductor complained of back pain, but no one was taken to the hospital, Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson said.

It’s not common, but vehicles have broken down on Metrolink’s tracks before, Johnson said.

Every crossing intersection has a phone number that drivers can call to reach railroad dispatchers if there’s an object obstructing the train’s path way, he said. Dispatchers then can alert the train’s engineers.

“We certainly appreciate the fact that the bus operator made an effort to signal the train’s engineer,” Johnson said. “A train engineer, when he or she sees [an object] in the way, would have applied the emergency brake.”

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