Expo Line test train t-bones semi on 7th and Colorado
The driver of the T-boned truck received minor injuries and was rushed to a local hospital according to MTA officials at the scene. The rail operation supervisor aboard the train received a minor shoulder injury according to officials at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA).
No passengers were on board the rail-car, as it was running as a part of series of tests to ensure safety on the new rail extension connecting Santa Monica to Downtown LA's Metro service. These tests have been running for months as LACMTA prepares to open the Santa Monica extension to the public in the spring of 2016.
Trains running tests are not allowed to go any faster than 35 miles per hour, and as it was proceeding through an intersection it was likely going much slower at the time of the collision according to LACMTA Public Communications Officer Anna Chen.
The train's cabin received cosmetic damage to its front windshield and forward cab, while the truck had its driver side door smashed inward.
The train did derail during the collision. Said Chen,"It's based on the angle of the truck and the weight of the truck itself - and perhaps the speed of the train - it was pushed off of the tracks."
It took emergency crews around two hours to remove the rail-car from the scene, before they began towing away the truck, which appeared to be owned by Jones' Wholesale Lumber. During this time, traffic flow was severely impeded in the surrounding area.
It's difficult to know if this will delay the opening of the Expo Line extension to the public at this point, as there's no official date set for the opening. The incident will not stop the rail tests, which will continue this weekend and throughout next week. Chen wanted the public to stay vigilant in this time, saying "We want to just urge everyone to keep an eye out for the train and obey all traffic signals."
Whether this incident would compel Santa Monica city officials to install new safety equipment or protocols like crossing guard barrier arms is unclear at this time. Chen did confirm that LACMTA was in negotiations with the city to install safety measures, and that the city was leaning favorably toward such measures.
This is the second collision to occur on the Expo Line this year on an at-grade track - where the rail line is on the same level as the road. On March 28 an Expo Line car collided with a passing Hyundai Sonata near the Expo/Crenshaw stop by USC. Twenty-one people were injured during the incident, which also derailed the rail-car.