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RTD Says Operator Error To Blame For Light Rail Train Crash

By Stan Bush

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) - The crash of a light rail train happened Sunday night at the end-of-the line bumper at the station on Santa Fe & Mineral. According to RTD, the Federal Transportation Administration is investigating the incident.

"There's so much inertia behind the train that it will go up over and on things," said Nate Currey, spokesman for the Regional Transportation District's light rail service.

RTD Light Rail Crash
(credit: RTD)

RTD says drugs and alcohol were not factors in the crash. There were no reports of problems with the operator during the route. There were also no reports of mechanical problems with the equipment that crashed.

"There's a sequence of regulations they go through just to operate the train," Currey said.

RTD Light Rail Crash
(credit: RTD)

RTD ruled out the possibility of a mechanical malfunction causing the train to go past the bumper because of a "deadman" switch on all light rail cars. The cars require the operator to make at least two points of contact with the controls to move.

RTD could not comment on what type of discipline the operator of the train could face due to stipulations in the contract with their employee's union.

RTD Light Rail Crash
(credit: RTD)

The total cost of repairing the Littleton station is still being assessed. The crash damaged electrical cables on the right-of-way and the under carriage of the light rail car. Each light rail car costs roughly $3 million, according to RTD.

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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