Caltrain apologizes after 900 passengers stuck inside train in Burlingame

Sunday, September 27, 2015
Caltrain apologizes after 900 passengers stuck inside train
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Caltrain officials have issued an apology for an accident that happened Friday night, trapping more than 900 passengers inside the train.

BURLINGAME, Calif. (KGO) -- Caltrain is back on track along the Peninsula but only after Friday's commute came to a screeching halt after a northbound express train struck two unoccupied cars on the tracks.

None of the 900 passengers on board were hurt, but they were not left off the train and with no air conditioning, little communication and what witnesses described a scene of near panic on board.

"Honestly, I thought there was a public health risk there," said passenger Mark Schulze. ""It very quickly became 100, 110 then 120 degrees! Everyone profusely sweating, there was elderly on board. I was concerned!"

One man headed to San Francisco for the AC/DC concert was afraid he'd miss the show.

"We've had these tickets for six months now and we spent a lot of money on the tickets and looking forward to it with my friends here and just trying to get up to the concert," John Greate said.

Cell phone video shows people escaping out of the train's emergency windows, even after police warned passengers to remain on the train or face arrest. Those who stayed on board took to social media.

Many demanded answers from Caltrain about what was going on.

Caltrain says the rail line was still active so getting off would be dangerous, and getting a new train to take passengers took longer than expected.

Caltrain CEO, Jim Hartnett, apologized for the incident saying, "It's unacceptable. We have to do a better job."

A written apology stated, "I am initiating an immediate, complete and thorough review of the incident, with the goal of identifying what occurred and recommendations to improve our response. Our customers should feel safe and comfortable. We have to be better, even when faced with an extraordinary situation."

Police said the people inside the vehicle made it out before the collision but did not say why it was on the tracks to begin with.