ACE train service resumes today after tracks cleared following derailment

Crews put one car back on tracks, haul another out of Alameda Creek

Service on ACE trains for Pleasanton commuters is expected to resume this morning after a mudslide toppled a train from the tracks in the Niles Canyon area south of the city Monday evening.

Service was suspended yesterday after two cars of a Stockton-bound train derailed at about 7:15 p.m., sending nine passengers to area hospitals.

Crews spent most of Tuesday putting one car back onto the tracks and hauling another one out of nearby Alameda Creek using a crane.

Whether the car in the creek, valued at more than $2 million, can be salvaged remains to be seen, according to ACE spokesman Steve Walker.

The tracks, owned by Union Pacific, needed to be cleaned and inspected before service could resume, Walker said.

ACE officials said that while train service will resume Wednesday, trains are expected to run at slower speeds than usual so delays are anticipated in the area.

A mudslide over the tracks caused the derailment. Investigators initially thought the obstruction was a fallen tree, but determined this morning there was a mudslide, Walker said.

Two cars derailed as the train was traveling at about 35 mph in a posted 40 mph zone about a mile west of Sunol, halfway between Fremont and Pleasanton.

The first car flew off the tracks and landed on its side, partially submerged in nearby Alameda Creek. The car behind it remained upright but its wheels were buried in mud, Walker said.

Five passengers and the train's engineer were on board the first car. Four of them were seriously injured in the derailment and were taken to a hospital. Five other people on board the train suffered minor injuries, just scrapes and bruises, Walker said.

Alameda County fire officials said a few other people had minor injuries but were treated at the scene.

Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said Monday night it was a "miracle that nobody was killed."

The other approximately 200 passengers on board the train were taken by bus to the Alameda County fairgrounds and then to their final destinations by about 1 a.m.

The ACE commuter train has had two previous derailments in its approximately 17-year history, though neither has resulted in any injuries to passengers. A train going 8 mph derailed while switching tracks near the Stockton station in 1999. In 2008, a slow-moving train with no passengers on board derailed in the rail yard, ACE officials said.

Union Pacific crews inspect the tracks in the area twice a week for obstructions, according to Walker.

Since the cause of Monday's derailment was clearly a mudslide, the National Transportation Safety Board did not send investigators, Walker said.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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1 person likes this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 9, 2016 at 12:08 pm

That was a fast turn-around. Nice work.

Like this comment
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 11, 2016 at 9:43 am deaths!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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