SUNOL — The No. 10 ACE commuter train struck a tree that had fallen across the tracks derailing two passenger cars near Sunol sending one partially into Niles Creek with the other remaining upright.
Fourteen of the 214 passengers onboard when the train heading toward Pleasanton derailed at 7:30 p.m. Monday were injured. Four of the injured were transported to hospitals.
Altamont Corridor Express service is cancelled today to allow crews to inspect the tracks and make necessary repairs.
Niles Canyon — like the rest of the Bay Area and Northern California — has had steady and sometimes heavy rain for the past several days creating travel safety issues.
Crews had to fight the creek’s fast-moving currents to pull riders from the partially submerged rail car, Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
“It was dark, wet, it was raining. It was very chaotic,” Kelly said. “This is an absolute miracle that no one was killed, no passengers or first responders.”
ACE spokesman Steve Walker was quoted as saying that first car that ended up mostly submerged in the water was carrying six passengers and one staff member when it fell into the creek after the train struck the tree. Three additional passenger cars remained on the tracks.
A fleet of buses, including those from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, transported the remaining 200 unhurt passengers to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton where they were either met by family members to complete their rides home or took buses provided by ACE to reach their final destinations.
The train had been scheduled to arrive in Pleasanton at 7:30 p.m. when the accident occurred. The ACE 10 travels from San Jose to Stockton with a number of stops including Livermore, Tracy and Lathrop/Manteca.
The one passenger car in the creek will also have to be removed by cranes. It is believed that normal traffic all the way to San Jose will resume within a few days.
Emergency responders on the scene included ambulances, fire, police personnel, and the
California Highway Patrol.
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