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MTA train becomes runaway during Boyle Heights test

The train, with an MTA operator aboard, rolls on its own after a coupler breaks in a tunnel on the Gold Line extension. The agency says there was no danger to people at street level.

March 13, 2009|Steve Hymon

Local transit officials had a runaway train on their hands this week in the rail tunnel under Boyle Heights on the new Eastside Gold Line extension.

The incident began about 6 a.m. Tuesday when a truck began to pull the train out of the 1.7-mile tunnel, where it had been stored for the night. The plan was to drag the train east to test the tracks of the new $898-million line due to open this summer.

Instead, a coupling device that attached the train to the truck broke, said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The train -- with an operator on board and rolling without power -- headed back into the tunnel.

Sotero would not say how far the train traveled or how it was halted, saying the incident was under investigation. He said that no one had been hurt and that the runaway train was not on the street-level section of the tracks.

"There was never any danger to anyone on the street," Sotero said.

If the train had kept going, it would have exited the tunnel in the middle of 1st Street on the east side of the Los Angeles River.


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