SAN FRANCISCO—A Bay Area Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) commuter train derailed at approximately 7:15 p.m. on Monday, March 7. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but early reports indicate the derailing was likely due to a large tree that fell onto the train tracks. The train was en route to Stockton after departing from San Jose when it struck the tree and derailed.
Of the 214 passengers on board, 14 people were treated at the scene of the accident, and nine people were hospitalized with injuries. ACE sent shuttle buses to transport the remaining passengers to their respective destinations.
According to police reports, the No. 10 commuter train’s front car crashed into the Alameda Creek in Sunol, a rural part of Alameda County approximately 45 miles east of San Francisco. The front car toppled into the creek and was half-submerged, while the second car stayed upright. Four of the nine injured train passengers were severely hurt, but there were not reports of any passengers killed from the crash.
Rescue teams arrived at the scene to pull passengers from the submerged car, according to Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly. Kelly said the rescuers faced fast-moving currents as they were pulling riders to safety. “It was dark, wet, it was raining. It was very chaotic,” said Kelly. “This is an absolute miracle that no one was killed, no passengers or first responders.”
All ACE trains traveling the line from the South Bay to the Central Valley area will not be operating on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 8 and 9. The ACE stated, “We are working with our partners to restore service as soon as possible pending a complete investigation and assurance that the tracks are safe.”
According to an ACE train representative, the cause of the crash is still under investigation. The derailment may have been caused by a mudslide in addition to the tree and any other debris that interfered on the train tracks. According to representatives the train was traveling at approximately 30 miles per hour at the time of the incident.