Two Muni Light Rail Vehicles Collide at West Portal Station, Dozens Hurt

3733892528_bc36582c3f.jpgFlickr photo: 2Girls1Queen

At least 47 passengers were injured this afternoon when an L-Taraval train collided into the rear of a stopped K-Ingelside train on the platform of the West Portal station. MTA spokesperson Judson True said four of the injuries were "critical," including to the operator of the L train.

At least 20 ambulances arrived on the scene of the 2:45 p.m. crash and transported the more serious and "moderate" victims to a number of hospitals, and the less injured, or "walking wounded," were taken away in a shuttle bus. None of the injuries was reported to be life threatening. 

Witnesses who spoke to KCBS radio said the operator of the L train may have been "slumped over" before the collision, but other witnesses reported seeing him wave his hands, according to the reports.

True said the West Portal station may remain shut down through the evening because it will take some time to remove the trains.

MTA Chief Nat Ford arrived on the scene along with investigators who will begin trying to piece together what led to the collision.

"One of the first things we'll do is take the witness statements that we can, work with the PD and the California Public Utilities Commission to get those witness statements, and obviously we will look at everything from mechanical issues, to human issues," True told reporters on the scene. 

He said they will also examine whether the automatic train control system may have played a role in the crash. "There's a point where vehicles transition from ATCS to manual, so that'll be one of the things we look at in the investigation," he said. 

The collision came nearly one year to the day after two light rail vehicles collided near the Giants ballpark, leaving more than a dozen passengers hurt. In that crash, a two-car N-Judah LRV crashed into the rear of a stopped T-Third train on King Street between Third and Fourth.

More coverage of the crash from NBC11, SF Gate, Associated Press, CBS5, ABC7, NY Times, and more photos after the break.

muni_crash_2.jpgFlickr photo: chrisjbarker

muni_crash_1.jpgFlickr photo: chrisjbarker