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ACE checking condition of $2.5M passenger cars
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Two badly damaged $2.5 million Altamont Corridor Express passenger cars are being assessed for damages from a Monday night crash into Alameda Creek near Sunol to determine whether they can be repaired and put back into service or have to be replaced.
The lead car that crashed down the slope and into the creek was towed to Fremont rail yards Wednesday and then on to the ACE yards in Stockton shortly after midnight Thursday at a restricted speed of 25 miles an hour because its frame was in question.  The engine had to pull off onto sidings during the trip to allow other trains to pass safely. ACE spokesman Steve Walker said it is hoped the cars can be repaired and put back into service.
The second car remained on the road bed where eleven ties had to be replaced following the incident.
Two contractors have been hired.  Walker said ACE will know more by next week as to their condition following assessment by structural experts.  He noted the lead car bears a greater cost because it includes a control room at the front of the car where the engineer sits. 
He added that the Altamont mechanics are being very positive about the cars being restored and being put back into service in first class shape including replacement of the windows that were broken out of their frames.
Walker also said the ACE ridership was near normal on Thursday with more of the commuters returning to the daytime trains.  He said his staff has been finding valuables lost by the riders as they searched the area of the crash and some people have been calling the ACE offices in Stockton in search of items they had lost.  In going inch-by-inch, staffers discovered an iPAD on Thursday and are attempting to contact the owner.