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TRAX crash probe: UTA says it could be weeks, months before cause found

Published November 13, 2013 12:52 pm

Probe • UTA is working with federal agencies, train car manufacturer to find why car uncoupled.
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More than a week after a TRAX train crashed into a uncoupled light rail car, injuring three people, investigators from several agencies have yet to determine the exact cause of the accident.

Utah Transit Authority spokesman Remi Barron said Wednesday that the probe remains on-going, however, investigators are committed to nailing down exactly how the car detached from an earlier Blue Line train the night of Nov. 6 near 8100 South in Midvale.

The operator of the train and two passengers sustained minor injuries in the crash. The decoupled car was empty.

"The collision resulted from the last car of an out-of-service TRAX train becoming uncoupled. This kind of incident is extremely rare, and UTA is conducting a thorough investigation to determine what caused [the crash]," Barron said.

He said the investigation had become complex, with UTA working with the car's manufacturer, along with Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration officials.

"The coupler on the vehicle in question will be completely dismantled and inspected in an effort to identify any mechanical or electrical issues that may have contributed to the incident," Barron said.

However, he cautioned, "this is likely to be a time-consuming process that could take several weeks or even months to complete."

Until then, UTA officials seek to reassure its passengers that safety remains the top priority for the TRAX and bus operations alike, Barron said.

"Each TRAX vehicle is thoroughly inspected each day, and UTA is committed to making sure all safety policies and procedures are followed to ensure the safety of our riders and the public," he added.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims