ACE train will not operate until Monday following 2nd major mudslide in Niles Canyon this week

ByZach Fuentes and Lena Howland KGO logo
Thursday, January 19, 2023
ACE train suspends service until Monday following 2nd major mudslide
EMBED <>More Videos

ACE announced it will not operate its trains until Monday following a mudslide for the second day in a row and out of safety for passengers and crews.

SUNOL, Calif. (KGO) -- ACE announced it has suspended train service until Monday following a mudslide in Niles Canyon for the second day in a row and out of safety for passengers and crews.

"Due to the conditions of the mudslide location and for the safety of passengers and crews, ACE will not operate until Monday January 23, 2023. We apologize for the inconvenience," the transit agency tweeted.

The mudslides have caused cancellations and hundreds of passengers to be stuck on Wednesday.

Altamont Corridor Express canceled all trains after a morning train was stopped between Pleasanton and Fremont due to another mudslide.

At 5:30 a.m., ACE train 01 encountered a mudslide in Nile Canyon, according to spokesperson David Lipari. This is the same area where mudslides stopped a train on Tuesday, causing over 200 people to be evacuated after being stuck for hours.

VIDEO: Hundreds of ACE train passengers stuck for hours as mudslide causes 2nd day of cancelations

Lipari said that 223 passengers were on board, along with three crew members.

A spokesman for ACE Train said three people were treated for minor injuries and the equipment is fine.

RELATED: 225 passengers evacuated from ACE train after mudslide blocks tracks in Niles Canyon

Passengers returned to the Pleasanton station, more than three hours after they passed through for the first time, without ever reaching their destination.

"I had fallen asleep finally and then, boom!" Curt Sennewald, an ACE Train passenger said. "And was woken up!"

The reason was history repeating itself.

A landslide hit an ACE train in Niles Canyon, the same exact place where this happened on Tuesday.

"I was dazed out and what happened you know? And everyone's saying well we hit a tree and then we saw the mud up against the window," Rick Gogue, an ACE Train passenger said.

"It sounded like we hit a vehicle or something it was so powerful, it just rocked us," Hector Zamudio, an ACE Train passenger said.

Zamudio was one of more than 220 passengers that woke up to this, leaving them stranded on the tracks for hours.

RELATED: Roads closed, homes threatened in East Bay hills as officials monitor mudslides

"I noticed just the window got shattered, it was all cracked," he said. "So then we saw nothing but tree limbs just everywhere, I didn't know what it was!"

All afternoon ACE Trains were cancelled and everyone trying to get to work in San Jose never made it, as our ABC7 view from above shows the landslide still covering the tracks next to a muddy, debris-filled Alameda Creek.

"Because the hills are right next to the track, so with all of that mud, even though it's not raining, it's still causing havoc," he said.

Heavy equipment was brought in to clean up the tracks and tow the damaged train to safety.

Meanwhile, passengers were given the option to either hop on a bus to work in San Jose or a train ride back to Stockton.

"It happens, it's nature, I wish I had taken the second train, then I would have known and just stayed home," Sennewald said.

Photos taken by passengers show dirt and debris pressed up against the doors and windows of the train.

Image from inside train stuck Wednesday morning in Niles Canyon due to a mudslide.
Image from inside train stuck Wednesday morning in Niles Canyon due to a mudslide.
Blaine Bowden
Image from inside train stuck Wednesday morning in Niles Canyon due to a mudslide.
Image from inside train stuck Wednesday morning in Niles Canyon due to a mudslide.
Blaine Bowden
Image from inside train stuck Wednesday morning in Niles Canyon due to a mudslide.
Image from inside train stuck Wednesday morning in Niles Canyon due to a mudslide.
Blaine Bowden

While not as severe as Tuesday's situation, Lipari says that ACE is concerned.

"I think that is obviously a reasonable concern two slides back to back is a little bit, unprecedented for us," he said.

"I think one of the things that that passengers should know is that both from the Union Pacific side, as well as from the San Joaquin Regional Rail commission, who owns and operates the train, that the safety of the passengers is our number one priority.

So as we're assessing the corridor, and the safety of operations within the corridor, the passenger safety at top of mind. We're not going to initialize operations unless we know that the corridor is safe. That is our top priority."

He says that Union Pacific sent a vehicle inside the canyon Tuesday night and didn't see any indication of problems.

Union Pacific provided this statement to ABC7 News:

"Union Pacific crews are working to clear the tracks in Niles Canyon after today's mudslide, which was a direct result of the heavy rainfalls in the area. We hope to open the track later today. We will inspect the track to make sure it is safe before allowing train traffic to resume."

Several other morning trains were being held at stations and the maintenance facility, but ACE has announced that all remaining trains for the day have been canceled.