VTA light rail train derails in San Jose

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">A VTA light rail train derailed Friday night near the Virginia Station in San Jose.  </span></div>
March 21, 2008 11:48:33 PM PDT
A commuter train jumped off the tracks in San Jose on Friday at the tail end of the evening commute. Passengers say they had to crawl out to safety.

A few people were hurt, but not seriously. The VTA train derailed near the Virginia Station which is near the intersection of Interstate 280 and Highway 87.

"The train jerked back and was going really fast back, and then front part of the train I was on flipped over to the other side of the tracks. It isn't upside down, it isn't on its side, it's kind of leaning and it's across both tracks that come out on the rocks," said passenger Jessica Fromm.

To say what happened on the VTA tracks near the Virginia Station simply startled the passengers on board would be an understatement. The light rail train derailed as it approached a curve in the track, near Interstate 280.

"The light rail person was backing up. I don't know if she was on the wrong track or the right track. And she was backing up and then you could just feel the train jump the track and then the kids were screaming and the lights went off," said passenger Ladonya Reed.

"There were 30 people on board... there was a possibility for a lot of injuries," said San Jose Fire Captain Steve Alvarado.

Firefighters treated four people for what they called minor injuries. The rest of the passengers were put on another train and taken to the Tamien Station where they were met by more emergency crews.

Meantime, the Virginia Station remains closed as does a portion of Highway 87 near 280.

"We'll investigate all of the situation, what the scenario was, how it could have possibly happened. Of course passenger safety is first and foremost," said VTA Public Information Officer Bernice Alaniz.

As for service, the Virginia station will remain closed for the night. Passengers are getting off at the Convention Center and then going by bus to the Curtner Station to catch another train.