(Bay City News)
A train that struck and killed two BART employees this afternoon north of the Walnut Creek station had an “experienced operator” at the controls but was operating in automatic mode under computer control at the time of the accident, BART officials said today.
The two people, one BART employee and one contractor, were struck and killed by the out-of-service BART train shortly before 2 p.m. today as they conducted track inspections between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill stations, BART officials said in a statement.
The employees, one BART employee and one contractor, were walking on the tracks around one mile north of the Walnut Creek station with one inspecting the track while the other acted as a lookout, the statement said.
Both had “extensive experience working around moving trains in both the freight train and the rapid transit industry,” the statement said.
Trains are not running due to a strike that started Friday, but BART officials have said they are conducting routine maintenance runs.
The train, which was on a maintenance run, had an experienced operator at the controls, the statement said.
At the time of the accident, however, the train was being run on automatic mode under computer control, the statement said.
BART trains are not carrying passengers during the strike, but BART officials have said some managers have been trained to operate the trains for maintenance purposes in the event of a strike. It is not clear, however, whether the train’s operator in today’s incident was a manager.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 said on its official Twitter account in response to the deaths this afternoon that it will not picket tomorrow “out of respect for the families involved.”
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