18 injured in Amtrak collision at Jack London Square
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18 injured in Amtrak collision at Jack London Square

Thursday, October 13, 2011By Richard Alexander

At least 18 people were injured in a low-speed collision between two Amtrak trains near the Oakland passenger station in Jack London Square late Wednesday.

The collision occurred at Webster Street and Embarcadero around 10 p.m., at least 18 people had minor injuries. A passenger's who were interviewed by KTVU said the impact was severe enough to jolt people from their seats and to the floor.

Most of the injuries were bumps and bruises, but a Hayward woman told the station that her daughter was sent to the hospital with a broken arm.

"It was an awful jolt," said Alton Smith, a passenger from Oklahoma who told KTVU he had a sore neck after the crash. "I was sitting down, but I don't know what would have happened had I been standing up."

Amtrak officials and Oakland police did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

According to reports one of the trains was bound for Bakersfield, and the other was coming from Los Angeles. One of the trains was stopped at the station when it was struck by the second train in what initially was described as a "fender-bender.

Both trains remained upright after the crash, although one of the locomotives slightly derailed and damaged the pedestrian platform at the station.

Rail crews were still trying to determine how best to move the damaged equipment.

Amtrak operates on tracks owned by Union Pacific. Although federal law permits passenger trains to run at speeds up to 79 mph, speeds through that section of Oakland are much lower because of the presence of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

It was not immediately known how fast the second train was moving when the collision occurred.

This is the second significant East Bay incident in two weeks resulting in injuries to Amtrak passengers. On Sept. 30, 2011, 39 passengers on board a San Joaquin commuter train received minor to moderate injuries when the train hit a farm truck at a rural crossing east of Brentwood. Two people in the truck were uninjured.

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