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THE METROLINK CRASH

Wreck Mirrors 1999 Collision

April 24, 2002

In November 1999, a Metrolink passenger train and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train collided in an accident eerily similar to Tuesday's deadly wreck in Placentia.

Nineteen people were injured in the previous accident, as boxcars tumbled down an embankment and a locomotive derailed after being hit by a Metrolink train. The crash occurred in Fullerton, just a few miles from the site of Tuesday's wreck.

National Transportation Safety Board officials studied several causes for the 1999 crash, including mechanical and signal failures and sunlight glare in the Metrolink driver's eyes. Those causes were ruled out, however, and the investigation remains open.

Metrolink engineer Harvey Wong told police he received a warning signal to slow down three miles before the crash. While Wong reported that he slowed his train, he said he did not receive a timely warning to stop the passenger train altogether.

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