‘It's an Issue for Us': Caltrain Sees Spike in Train Versus Car Accidents

The number of Caltrain versus car accidents has spiked this year with the latest incident on Wednesday night.

Caltrain reports seven train versus car collisions in 2015, a big jump in crashes since last year. The incidents include a deadly accident crash in Menlo Park in February, a close call and rescue in Sunnyvale in August and an accident late Wednesday in Burlingame.

"We are concerned about this," Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said. "It's an issue for us."

Bartholomew said the agency is putting changes in place, starting with an increases police presence near the tracks to warn drivers.

"Drivers parking on the tracks as they're waiting to pass through the intersection is a big no-no," Bartholomew said. "They're supposed to wait 15 feet from the crossing."

Caltrain plans to also take its message to mobile devices.

"We are planning a social media campaign with local police," Bartholomew said. "Especially those where we had incidents this year."

Wednesday's collision occurred at the Bayswater Avenue crossing in Burlingame. 

At around 10:45 p.m., a woman in a white SUV made a right hand turn onto the tracks, according to San Mateo county sheriff's Sgt. Vincent Bedolla.

Bedolla said she was from out of the area but didn't explain why she made that illegal maneuver. 

When she tried to drive her SUV out of the way, she only made the situation worse, digging her wheels further into the dirt, Bedolla said. 

A man tried to help her remove the vehicle out of the way but to no avail.  He was calling 911, just as the train struck, Bedolla said.

Both escaped the tracks before the northbound 197 crashed into the SUV and pushed it several feet down the tracks. 

None of the 215 people on board the train were hurt though they were delayed by about 30 to 45 minutes while waiting for a new train.

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