The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

October 21, 2013

Train kills two track workers amid SF Bay strike

OAKLAND, Calif. — A San Francisco Bay Area commuter train returning from routine maintenance struck and killed two workers who were inspecting the tracks Saturday afternoon — an accident that comes amid a strike that has shut the Bay Area Rapid Transit system down to riders for the past few days.

The four-car train was being run in automatic mode under computer control at the time of the accident, BART’s Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier said at a news conference.

There were several people aboard the train, Oversier said, but he would not say who had been operating the train. In an earlier statement, BART said only that the person was an experienced operator.

Officials from the unions representing BART’s train operators and some of the system’s other workers have warned of the danger that could come with allowing managers to operate trains as BART had planned to do in case of a strike. The unions have been on strike since Friday.

One system employee and one contractor were killed in the accident in the East Bay city of Walnut Creek shortly before 2 p.m. The train had been at a yard where workers had been cleaning off graffiti, BART officials said.

“This is a tragic day in BART’s history,” the system’s general manager, Grace Crunican, said. “The entire BART family is grieving.”

Officials from the unions representing BART’s train operators and some of the system’s other workers have warned of the danger that could come with allowing managers to operate trains as BART had planned to do in case of a strike. The unions have been on strike since Friday.

One of the unions on strike, Amalgamated Transit Union 1555, announced that its 900 workers would not be picketing on Sunday out of respect for the victims and their families.

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