An unoccupied vehicle caught fire when it was struck by a train Saturday night in Atherton, according to Menlo Park Fire Protection District officials.
The driver was a former Atherton resident, a man in his 70s, who now lives in Los Angeles, Caltrain spokesman Dan Lieberman said.
At 8:13 p.m., firefighters responded to a report of a vehicle that was on fire and jammed under a southbound Caltrain passenger train at the railroad crossing at Watkins Avenue.
Crews arrived on scene within minutes and found a white classic 1950s Austin-Healey convertible on fire and pinned and entangled under the front grill of the train. The vehicle was not occupied, fire officials said.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze and safely transferred more than 300 Caltrain passengers to another train. Fire crews then worked to disentangle the car, much of it reduced to twisted metal and debris, from underneath the locomotive, fire officials said.
There were no reports of injuries, fire officials said.
Following an investigation, fire crews determined that the vehicle had stalled at the Fair Oaks Lane railroad crossing just north of Watkins Avenue. The driver exited the vehicle before it was struck by the train, which dragged the car for about a quarter-mile until stopping just short of the Watkins Avenue crossing, fire officials said.
The collision caused damage to the locomotive that will run to more than $100,000 to repair, Mr. Lieberman said.
According to fire officials, this is the second time in four years a vehicle has been struck by a train and then caught fire at this location.
On a dark and rainy night in December 2014, a driver followed his vehicle's navigation system onto the train tracks and became stuck. The driver was able to escape from the vehicle before it was struck by a southbound train, fire officials said.
Almanac Staff Writer Dave Boyce contributed to this report.