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Oxnard train-truck crash leads to examination of rail car safety

This blog has previously written about the collision between a truck and a Metrolink commuter train in Oxnard in February of this year. The exact cause of the train and truck crash has not been officially determined, but Metrolink officials are trying to determine whether a design defect in one of the cars may have contributed to the accident.

The head car in the train that was involved in the truck collision was a state-of-the-art car that combined both passenger space and a small cab used by engineers to control the train. Cab cars are commonly used by commuter railroads to control trains when they are being pushed by locomotives coupled to the rear of the train. The cab car leading the Oxnard train had an energy-absorbing “zone” that was intended to prevent the impact of a collision from affecting other cars in the train. The car also had a plow-like attachment that was intended to keep crash debris from getting under the cars. Investigators are looking at whether the crush zone and the plow may have failed to keep debris off the tracks, thereby leading to the derailment that injured 27 people and killed the train’s engineer.

The cars on the train in the Oxnard crash were manufactured by Hyundai-Rotem. Metrolink has said that it will suspend use of these cab cars and replace them with locomotives until the results of the investigation are known.

Design defects of the type being studied by Metrolink often cause collisions involving heavy duty trucks, automobiles and trains. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in such a collision may have a claim for damages based on the design defect. A consultation with an attorney who specializes in such cases can provide a helpful analysis of the facts of the accident and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost past and future income and pain and suffering.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Metrolink examining safety of state-of-the-art rail cars in wake of Oxnard crash,” Dan Weikel, Sep. 3, 2015

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