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Tragedy worst in train's history

January 29, 2005

Jackson Bell

A three-train wreck that killed at least 10 and injured nearly 200

early Wednesday morning was the worst in Metrolink history, but it

wasn't the first tragedy in Glendale on a rail line with a recent

history of perilous crashes.

"Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened in Glendale, but we

have had a couple cars hit trains or individuals commit suicide [this

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way]," Mayor Bob Yousefian said.

Thirty-seven trains have crashed in Glendale since 1976, not

including Wednesday's large-scale disaster between Chevy Chase Drive

and Los Feliz Boulevard, according to the Federal Railroad

Administration. The agency does not track suicide-related crashes.

The rate of wrecks caused by suicides does not appear to be higher

in Glendale than other areas the train company operates, but that

data is not collected for individual cities, Metrolink spokesman

Steve Lantz said.

"They do happen from time to time, and suicides in particular are

something that is very difficult to design around," Lantz said.

Metrolink officials are waiting for the National Transportation

Safety Board and Federal Railroad Administration investigators to

finish their investigation before making any changes to their

operations, Lantz said.

Following are some of the wrecks that have happened in recent

years:

* July 27, 2004: A 70-year-old man killed himself when he stepped

in front of an oncoming Union Pacific freight train at Doran Street.

No passengers were hurt.

* April 28, 2004: A middle-aged woman stepped under a railroad

crossing guardrail and was hit by a Metrolink train at Sonora Avenue.

The woman was killed, but no passengers were injured.

* Jan. 27, 2003: A Burbank motorist was killed by a Metrolink

train after he pulled his car onto the tracks at Grandview Avenue. A

suicide note was found at his home. No passengers were seriously

injured.

* Jan. 23, 2003: A 53-year-old woman was able to escape before an

Amtrak train smashed into her SUV at Doran Street. No one was hurt.

* Jan. 6, 2003: A Metrolink train slammed into a truck in Burbank

at the Buena Vista Street crossing. The motorist was killed, and more

than 30 passengers were injured.

* Jan. 28, 2000: A tractor-trailer truck, escorted by the

California Highway Patrol, was broadsided by a Metrolink train at

Grandview Avenue. The train engineer and four passengers were

injured.

* Dec. 7, 1999: A 31-year-old Glendale man stepped in front of a

Metrolink train at Broadway and San Fernando Road. The man was

severely injured but survived.

* November 1999: A 56-year-old North Hollywood man jumped in front

of a Metrolink train and killed himself at Doran Street.

* October 1998: A train hit a car at Doran Street. No one was

hurt.

* February 1997: An abandoned car was smashed by a train at Buena

Vista Street in Burbank.

* August 1996: A train struck a tractor-trailer truck near Bekins

Way.

* September 1995: A train hit a bus at Doran Street. No injuries

were reported.

* April 1995: A train hit a truck at Doran Street. No injuries

were reported.

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