California Commuter, Freight Trains Collide; Minor Injuries Reported

A Metrolink commuter train and a freight train collided Thursday, causing a handful of minor injuries, officials said.

The accident came nine weeks after the deadliest crash in Metrolink history. The Sept. 12 head-on, high-speed crash between a Metrolink train and a Union Pacific freight train in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles killed 25 people and injured 135.

Thursday's accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. about a half-mile from the Metrolink station in Rialto, agency spokeswoman Joanna Capelle said.

The commuter train, carrying 15 passengers and crew, was heading east from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles toward San Bernardino when it collided with a westbound BNSF train as the freight train was pulling onto a side track, authorities said.

The 102-car freight had almost made it onto the side track when the Metrolink struck a flatbed car hauling iron, BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent said.

"There are no severe injuries. There are some complaints of pain," police Lt. Joe Cirilo said.

Police said five people complained of pain and were taken to area hospitals.

The freight train's three crew members were not hurt, Kent said.

Other commuter trains could not get through the blocked tracks and so buses were taking commuters along the line between Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino, she said.

The trains sideswiped each other and both remained upright on the tracks, Cirilo said.

Rialto is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. The cause of Thursday's accident was not immediately known.

The September crash in the San Fernando Valley was blamed on the failure of the Metrolink engineer to stop at a red light so an oncoming Union Pacific train could go by.

Investigators have said the Metrolink engineer, Robert Sanchez, may have been text messaging. He sent a text message just seconds before the impact that killed him and 24 passengers.