18 hurt in accident at JLS Amtrak Station

KTVU is reporting tonight about a train accident at the Jack London Square Amtrak Station. That makes sense since KTVU is literally down the street. The accident occurred before 10 PM between a train stopped at the station and another that was slowly entering. I’m confused as to why this occurred since there are three platforms and two tracks for Amtrak at the JLS station; nevertheless, it happened. Yes, Virginia, train safety is nothing to prematurely dismiss. The video below was taken a few years ago. Understand what we’re dealing with here:

From what I can piece together in the timetables, the two trains that collided were the northbound San Joaquin #717 coming from Bakersfield (9:55 arrival) and the northbound Coast Starlight #14 (PDF, 9:42 departure) coming from LA. The fact that they’re both listed as northbound is misleading since the San Joaquin actually loops around western Contra Costa County before stopping at Emeryville and terminating in Oakland. That would explain why the two engines hit each other. Fortunately, the 18 reported injuries were all minor in nature.

Can you imagine the scene if tonight’s accident occurred outside an A’s game at Victory Court right after the final out? This is why real infrastructure changes are needed at Victory Court to accommodate 30,000 coming 82 times a year. Fans are worth the cost.

82 thoughts on “18 hurt in accident at JLS Amtrak Station

  1. ML, I will need to double check, but I recall ch 5 mentioning that a track-switch device malfunctioned. As for occurring for if there is a Victory Court site, we need to hope that there are more bridges over the tracks besides the 3 that are currently there (Washington St. garage, Marketplace, and AMTRAK) yet even so, not sure what other infrastructure improvements would help.

  2. A good point. And everything isn’t Oak vs. SJ. But isn’t the point of the SJ site to be a transfer hub for 3 rail systems? Extensions of which are dependant on heavy ridership?

    • @justin – It is. The point is that Diridon Station and its tracks are well separated from cars and people by fences and gates. Crossings are grade-separated in the immediate area. Plus there’s an expansion project underway that will allow more trains to run through the station with less congestion. It’s a good situation.

  3. re: This is why real infrastructure changes are needed at Victory Court to accommodate 30,000 coming 82 times a year.

    …and who pays for it? The A’s owners, presumably.

  4. @pjk – do you get paid every time you repeat the same thing? “Oakland is broke and they want the A’s to pay for: x, y and z”.
    .
    Go A’s!

  5. So who pays for it, then? Oakland, the state and the federal government are broke. Leaves the A’s owners, no?

  6. Justin the SJ site will actually, if all goes according to plan, be the hub of 6 different rail systems eventually. Caltrain, ACE, Regular Amtrak (Capital Corridor), VTA Lightrail, CA High Speed Rail and BART.

    As for the VC site, I think it’s a given that the way those tracks are today won’t fly with thousands of people going into the area every night. Heck they’ve needed to move those tracks off a city street for a very long time, ballpark of not.

  7. Is every “tragedy” in Oakland newsworthy for the ballpark agenda? Hey, my kid wet the bed last night in Oakland.

    Discuss.

  8. @pjk There’s no way A’s owners would be expected to pay for the infrastructure at Victory Court and IIRC Oakland has said as much.
    .
    @ML I was rereading the “Train Business” post and noticed at the end you mention an MLB deadline of 2015 for the new ballpark. I don’t remember there being a deadline stated by MLB. Do we know if it is still in place?

  9. @David, not every tragedy, just those directly adjacent to the site and aided by an issue that has been called out.

  10. @pjk – I’ll pretend you are correct. You’ve stated that point over and over. Do you have anything else to share? Or are you concerned that some of the lurkers don’t know your position on Oakland’s efforts? Dawg, day after day of saying the same thing must get tiring at some point …

  11. @Jeffrey – So, if someone is mugged near the Dirdon area, is that newsworthy (aqui)? really?

    • @David – Crimes committed near either ballpark site are immaterial. Discussion of what infrastructure is needed to support a project, regardless of how little the pro-Oakland crowd wants to talk about it, absolutely is material. This is not a difficult concept to grasp.

      @gojohn – 2015 was the date given by Oakland as part of their discussions with MLB.

  12. @David – You’re trying to compare a minor crime to an incident that could have been a major disaster? How can you not see that this as relevant?
    .
    People will have to cross the tracks to get to a park at VC. If a piece of equipment failed to cause last night’s collision, why couldn’t a piece of equipment, say a crossing signal, fail as 30k people are leaving a game? It’s merely pointing out that there is more work to this than just pointing to a location on a map and saying “Here. Build it here.”

  13. re: So, if someone is mugged near the Dirdon area,

    …I’m at Diridon all the time for the past 8 years. If you want to throw in Sharks games right across from Diridon, then let’s tack on an additional 10 years. Have never heard of a single mugging there.

  14. @ML – sure thing dude. Its not that “pro-Oakland” A’s fans don’t want to talk about it. Its just not relevant at this point. When construction around that area begins, the tracks will accounted for. Many folks here just love to point to anything “wrong” about Oakland, as further evidence to not build a ballpark in the town. http://www.mercurynews.com/san-jose-police
    .
    How about AT&T not being interested in selling their parcel of land in SJ?
    .
    OT: I will be AT&T Park in SF for the first time tonight, to see my CAL Bears!
    .
    What’s it like inside that stadium?

  15. SJ can kick ATT out of the property. We already know that….When can pro-Oakland folks stop attacking San Jose and start presenting a solid, workable financial plan for an Oakland ballpark, in the absence of corporate and public dollars for such a project? Get a new ballpark in Oakland and I will be very happy – it solves the territorial rights nonsense and keeps the A’s in the Bay Area, which is the goal. But we’ve all been waiting for several years for some kind of plan and all we ever hear is “John Fischer is rich…”…

  16. …Wondering how long and how many local, state and federal agencies would have to get involved in eliminating the grade crossing shown in that video and how many years it would take. Not to mention who pays for it.

  17. @David “Its just not relevant at this point. When construction around that area begins, the tracks will accounted for.”
    .
    Wow. Continuing a demonstrated complete inability to distinguish relevant from irrelevant facts. The possibility of a MAJOR infrastructure project that would need to be completed as a pre-condition to building a VC ballpark is, um, relevant to the prospects of building that ball park. You don’t just start digging and then say, “Hey, guys, what are we going to do about these tracks in the way? Anyone got a spare $100 million to separate them from pedestrians?” As your post suggests.

  18. @ML – write what you want. You have comments on. I have opinions. You do you; i’ll do me. No need to continue to attack your readers… as we are all Oakland A’s fans.

    @pjk – contrary to what you and the haters think … Oakland can take care of its obligations. Times are hard, but i did see a city employee filling in some potholes near my home last week.

  19. @bartleby – I respect you as a Raider and A’s supporter. You have an opinion. Share it. But I don’t think the tracks are relevant (right now on October 13, 2011). If you think differently., cool. Agree to disagree and move on without the vitriol.

  20. Baseball fans drink alcohol, so this post is relevant:

    “San Jose police arrest people for public drunkenness more than a dozen times a day, on average — a dizzying clip no other California city can match.

    And a Mercury News review shows the department is booking Hispanics in about seven out of those dozen arrests — a percentage wildly out of proportion to the population that surpasses virtually every other police force in the state.”
    http://www.mercurynews.com/san-jose-police/ci_10755739

  21. @David – Nice that you consider my rebuttal an “attack” while you call others here “haters”. Really nice.

    By your measure, the train safety issue will never be relevant. Well then, let’s just sweep it under the rug, shall we?

    Wow, with that last link (three years old BTW) you’re hitting below the belt. Getting a little desperate, I take it? This thread is about train safety. Not crime. I didn’t bring up crime. You brought it up. Now I’m gonna have to start deleting a bunch of comments because you just couldn’t stop yourself. Debate the topic at hand if you like. Or don’t, I don’t care. Just don’t bring in topics that will send us off the rails (pun intended). Is that so hard to understand, coach?

  22. Nice 3-year-old article re: public drunkenness in San Jose – an issue that I believe already has been resolved and has nothing whatsoever to do with the ballpark. Once again, David has no solutions on how an Oakland ballpark gets paid for in the absence of public and corporate tax dollars. All he can do is attack San Jose, googling for whatever dirt he can find, whether it’s relevant or not. Sharks fans drink alcohol, too. I never see any problems with cops after the games, and I’ve only been to a few hundred of them…

  23. @ML – delete as you see fit. I do find it interesting that your “pro-SJ” buddy who says the same thing in every post, is never “talked to”. No desperation here. Just a little experiment to see how you would react. Unfortunately, you passed.

  24. David, Pot calling kettle black, no? All we’d like to see is a plan to pay for an Oakland ballpark. Not the same old “John Fischer is rich…” and attacks on San Jose.

  25. @David – That experiment you just did is called trolling. You’ve been warned.

  26. @pjk – thanks for continuing to prove my point.

  27. @ML – your top post is trolling. You’ve been notified!

  28. @David – I’ll take that as seriously as you believing train safety is irrelevant. Cool?

  29. As somebody who rides trains all the time, I’m imagining all sorts of solutions for that train problem in Oakland. Fencing in the train? A big pedestrian tunnel under the tracks?A big pedestrian bridge over the tracks? Raise the rails via berms, like Caltrain in San Carlos and Belmont? There are solutions, all of which would take years and Big $$.

  30. Train safety is important. Linking the accident in Oakland to the ballpark is where you lost me, Cool?

    There are potholes between Lake Merritt station and Victory Court, when will that report surface?! Cars could bounce out of them and hit defenseless A’s fans.

  31. Comparing a few potholes to that massive train going by? Potholes cost $75-$100 to fix. Dealing with that train? I don’t want to begin to estimate how much that’s going to cost. Would it have to get on some sort of federal or state waiting list for funding? How many years would it have to be on that list?

  32. *sigh* I continue to come to this site, but it is really hard to keep it up. I appreciate Ml’s due diligence, but the posts are just becoming increasingly aggressive to Oakland, you know, the home of the A’s. Every third post is a repeated mantra of “Oakland is broke,” Oaklanders are passive/lazy,” “Oakland will lose its teams,” “Oakland has crime and blight,” etc. This crap and more is repeated ON EVERY NEW UPDATE. Some of these comments aren’t even from people who regularly go to Oakland A’s games or are even A’s fans *cough* Sid *cough*. Honestly, can you blame proud Oaklanders for getting irritated?

  33. David, at AT&T Park try and walk up to section 204 (I think it is)… Great view of the Port of Oakland.

  34. Has anyone done the research to find out who would be responsible for protecting pedestrians from these tracks that ziz-zag the country. Maybe Amtrak? Maybe the state? Who knows for sure?

  35. I’ve dealt with the trains at JLS for years and I’m surprised there isn’t more accidents over there. They do slow the rains down considerably, so that’s good. I just hear of the many accidents (and deaths) on the Peninsula, but many of those are suicides.

  36. @Jeffrey – Muito Obrigado!

  37. No, but at the same time they’re getting irritated at the wrong people. They should be irritated at their own leaders and their ineptitude and calling for some change. All the points people bring up about Oakland are legitimate and need to be addressed like funding, moving the train, a site, an EIR, etc… That said what has become tiresome is people repeating ad nauseum the deficiencies of Oakland over and over in the comments. I think everyone who comes here knows that Oakland has no EIR, no money, and likely no hope. No need to keep repeating it 5 times in every comment thread as some people do and rubbing it in. Be the graceful front runner and just enjoy the fact San Jose DOES have its ducks in a row and wait for Selig to make his decision.

  38. “Who is responsible for crossing signals and safety devices?”
    “Railroads are usually privately owned. Local public works departments coordinate the installation of crossing signals and safety devices with the railroad company. The public works department requests signals and safety/warning devices and lines up money to pay for them. The railroad installs and maintains them. The public works department can request federal money to pay for the cost of signal installation. ”

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Freight/Rail/TrainSafety.htm

  39. @David the situation with the tracks near VC would require far more than just crossing signals.

  40. @bartleby – “safety devices”.

  41. re: Railroads are usually privately owned.
    …so if the railroad says, “You want this changed for YOUR ballpark – YOU can pay for it,” what happens next?

  42. @pjk – Who do you think would get sued if an avoidable accident occurred? A “broke” city, or a rail company with deep pockets?

  43. …who’d get sued? Everybody. The railroad, the city, the A’s. Cities have insurance policies, even if they themselves are broke.

  44. @ David – OT: I regularly go to clubs and entertainment venues throughout the Bay Area (it is my side business). By far and away, SJ has the strictest policies when it comes to publicly intoxication and disorderly conduct. Last call is usually around 1am (which is outrageous) and most venues already close by 2am. Compare this to SF where you can drink until like 2:30am, several places close around 3-4am, and there’s widespread cases of people roaming around drunk without any police doing anything about it (my friend’s car was recently totalled due to a drunk driver hitting it while it was parked! Luckily, we had come out of the club late). So, it’s no surprise that the article notes that SJ arrests for public intoxication is high (i’ve witness many arrests just for simply walking by and flipping off an officer). And guess what, a majority of SJ residents are Hispanic, so there’s no racial profilling there. SJPDepartment are one of, if not the strictest in the Bay Area, if not California. It’s great for public safety, but not so good if you want to party. So to go on citing such an article, as compared to violent crimes in Oakland, is laughable at best and only shows your ignorance.

  45. I wonder if VC becomes a reality if they would slow the trains down even more going through that area before/during/after the game? Bart to LM station would be the way to go, which doesn’t cross the train tracks, but fans going to bars and restaurant in JLS would have to cross over the tracks to get to. Many fans could park in DT city garages, eat and hang out in Uptown before/after a game and take a restored trolley car like SF (hopefully) to VC. All kind of crazy, but it can be worked out for an exciting atmosphere in DTO/JLS and around the park, but watch out for them trains, folks!!!

  46. …the SJ public drunkeness thing, which has nothing to do with the ballpark, did call into question police activities that at least gave the appearance that anyone who dared to question or talk back to the police would automatically get slapped with a”public drunkenness” charge, drunk or not, if I recall correctly. FWIW, I’ve never felt unsafe at or after any SJ Arena or Oakland Coliseum event. Even when wearing my Dolphins gear to a Raiders game.

  47. @David – No way the EIR is certified unless it’s addressed, no way the project moves forward without identifying who pays for it. UPRR owns the tracks and the precedent: they were there first and the ballpark is invading their turf. The Public Utilities Commission will have a major say, as Jeffrey wrote when he first reviewed Victory Court.

  48. A comparable situation exists in San Diego. There are very cool looking pedestrian bridges that they built over the train tracks there (I think they are just light rail). Something similar would be needed in VC, at a minimum. In general, I feel like Petco is really a good comparable to what could exist at VC. If only folks were working hard to make it happen.

  49. @jeffrey–it would be nice if the owner jumped on board to help and work hard to make it happen too, but he’s shown little interest in building in Oakland.

  50. @jk-usa – Per MLB’s discussions with both cities, the owner will pay for the ballpark. City pays for infrastructure. Or are you looking for a handout there too?

  51. @ML–uh, excuse me, but looks like broke SJ needs a handout for those last two parcels.

  52. @ML–where the hec is TonyD with a high five with you on that one and a “You gottem good there, RM.”
    He’s slipping.

  53. re: uh, excuse me, but looks like broke SJ needs a handout for those last two parcels.
    …like a race car driver that’s 5 laps behind and stuck in the pit telling the leader, “Um, you’ve still got a quarter-mile to go, heh heh.”

  54. This has been fun reading lately. The emotions and rhetoric from both sides is unprecedented since I’ve been on this site. Maybe it’s time for a challenge match between the Oak and SJ crowds. Football, Baseball, Basketball, Beer-Drinking??? I’m 6’2, 230 and I can gather some pretty big boys for a game (and some Boggs-type beer drinkers as well). All in fun, of course.

  55. @Columbo Wiffleball

  56. @gojohn10 – That was going to be my next suggestion after ping-pong.

  57. @Columbo Maybe beer pong?

  58. Beer pong is an excellent idea!

  59. I’m big… i’d like to play flag football if Marine Layer plays Running Back and I get to play Middle Linebacker 😉

  60. David- on the Internet, we re all big. I’d love to play full back and block for ML

  61. I’m: 6’1 255 big!
    .
    just sayin’

  62. Oh please. I haven’t been fast in at least a decade. The only time I use a lead blocker is when I’m driving behind a fire truck.

  63. I am down for wiffleball, anytime, anywhere… I am not big, but football would be fun too. Though I don’t want to be a running back if David is a linebacker (unless I get to be on the Oakland team)…

  64. How about a match of intellects in a game like Jeopardy, but then again, the winner would be obvious. :X

  65. I’m small, but I have a big heart

  66. I have Hungry, Hungry Hippos in the garage. I would suggest hockey, but I know it would be tough for the San Jose folks to win a big game. 🙂

  67. @ eb – Yeoucchh…them’s fightin’ words! 😉 .FTR – I’m 5 foot nothin’, 100 and nothin’, and have barely a speck of athletic ability….. :X

  68. I just spit water on my screen, eb. Well played.

  69. @eb-lmao.
    I’m 6′ 1″, 190 pounds and basketball is my game, but flag football or wiffleball would be cool. I can get my online buddy on here DavidL to join in, and I have a pro-Oakland buddy at work who’s great at any sport to do some damage to these pro-SJ wimps.

  70. Pro-SJ or simply, pro-Keeping the A’s in the Bay Area? I’m not going to abandon the team if they stay in Oakland, unlike what some Oakland-only folks will do if the team moves a whole 30 miles south to San Jose.

  71. If we ever get together for a game it would be have to be on a mutual field, say in Fremont, because they don’t care about the A’s, and actually are afraid of a pro-team in their city of any kind.

    Now how about the name of the teams?
    I have a few suggestions. On the Oakland side, how about the Oakland/East Bay Pride or Haas’ Heroes; and on the San Jose side it can be the San Jose/South Bay Geeks or Wolff’s Sheep.

  72. One side wears jerseys that say “Oakland”, other side wears jerseys that say “Athletics”

  73. jk, you mean a neutral field?

  74. I’m confused as to why this occurred since there are three platforms and two tracks for Amtrak at the JLS station; nevertheless, it happened.

    My understanding from KGO-TV is that an OFD officer said the engineer of the San Joaquin train ignored a red signal, causing the collision. linky

  75. I suggest foosball. Because. Well….I can foos.

  76. Astro’s to AL West- Epstein to Cubs- Cherington to replace Epstein…Beane staying with A’s…hopefully we only weeks away from finally moving forward on the ballpark in SJ-

  77. “wolff’s sheep”! Lol!

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