Remotely operated commuter train hits and kills two workers
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (AP) - A commuter train that is part of a San
Francisco Bay Area system whose employees are on strike hit and killed
two maintenance workers Saturday afternoon, officials said.
The accident in the East Bay city of Walnut Creek
occurred shortly before 2 p.m. as the train was on a routine maintenance
operated by non-union staff members, Bay Area Rapid Transit officials
said in a statement.
BART officials said an "experienced operator" was
at the controls, but did not specify who it was. The train was being run
in automatic mode under computer control at the time of the accident,
the statement said.
Union representatives have warned of the danger that could come with allowing managers to operate trains.
The two dead were one BART employee and one
contractor who were performing track inspections in response to a
reported dip in the track, BART said.
"Both people had extensive experience working
around moving trains in both the freight train and the rapid transit
industry," BART said.
The procedures for such maintenance require one
employee to inspect the track and the other to serve as a lookout for
oncoming traffic, BART officials said, but they did not immediately say
whether that procedure was being followed.
The accident occurred about a mile from the Walnut Creek station and some 25 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Two tarps that appeared to be covering the two dead were laid across the tracks, the Contra Costa Times reported.
The victim's names and ages were not immediately released.
BART management and officials from two unions
representing workers have been at an impasse over contract negotiations
since Thursday as the system that links San Francisco and Oakland to Bay
Area suburbs goes through its second work stoppage in less than three
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