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Update: SamTrans confirms its bus was involved in train incident at Menlo Park crossing

Original post made on Jul 30, 2013

More than 24 hours after witnesses reported that a SamTrans bus broke through a lowering railroad crossing arm and hurtled across the tracks at the Oak Grove Avenue crossing in Menlo Park shortly before the train arrived, the transit agency confirmed it was one of its buses.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 9:56 AM

Comments (15)

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Posted by Loki
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 30, 2013 at 11:49 am

It wasn't quite that dramatic. The crossing guard was down for a north bound train which had left the station and had passed the crossing. The south bound train arrive five minutes later.

Still the bus driver didn't see that the crossing was down and just drove through it. This could have been a lot worse that it was.

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 30, 2013 at 12:27 pm

If you can't see that a railroad crossing is down, you are as blind as a bat and as deaf as a post. Is this the kind of quality bus driver that we want on the roads?

Unfortunately, due to public unions, I suspect that it is impossible to get rid of such.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Not sure about this, but I think buses are required to come to a full stop before a railroad, open the doors to listen and look, then close the doors and proceed.

A similar rule applies to gasoline trucks, who have to put on their four-way flashers. (Maybe the bus should be using flashers too.)

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Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Why didn't the bus driver, after breaking off the crossing arm, pull over and wait for the police to arrive in order to take a report? Something's fishy here. And, yes, buses are supposed to come to a COMPLETE stop before crossing railroad tracks, but many of them don't, as has been covered in local tv news reports.

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Posted by pearl
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jul 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hmmm Pearl I'm not sure, do you think it's possible the bus driver didn't want to get in trouble? No way could that be the case that would just be silly.

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Posted by Caltrain commuter
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

@Loki: It wasn't five minutes between the bus crossing the tracks and the southbound train arriving. Train 230 was more than a minute late, arriving after its scheduled time of 9:23 a.m. The train was en route to Palo Alto by 9:28 a.m. and that's after several minutes of holding in the station while the broken crossing arm and the train were inspected.

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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 30, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Is this the same driver who holds sandwiches with 2 hands & eats while steering the bus with his elbows in the steering wheel? I reported him once to SamTrans. Fat lot of good it did. Probably just waiting for his pension.

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Posted by nadawg2002
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 31, 2013 at 10:45 am

Seems to me no one has a clue of what their saying just trolling.

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Posted by RS
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Beware! I have heard of people getting tickets for driving across the tracks just after the red lights start flashing but before the arms start to come down. Unfortunately, railroad crossings have nothing comparable with a yellow light.

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Posted by questions
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm

It seems that the Almanac's story is based largely on an unnamed witness.

Are there any other witnesses who confirm that a Samtrans bus was involved?

I can't imagine it would be hard for Samtrans to track down and inspect and inspect for damage its "big, double buses" that were in Menlo Park at the time.

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Posted by Ted Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm

SamTrans should be able to determine very easily who would have been driving a "big, double bus" on any of the routes which cross the tracks at Oak Grove right at the reported time of the incident. That time is confirmed by the action of the CalTrain crew. Someone is covering up, folks!
<B> Editor's note:</B> The story has been updated. SamTrans has confirmed that it was one of its buses.

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Posted by gina
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Jul 31, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I have ridden on that bus route numerous times to the point I have lost count as to how many times the bus driver has plowed through the rail road tracks just before the crossing arms come down. there was also a time when the bus was actually on the tracks when a train was coming in the station. so i know for a fact the bus driver plowed right through shearing off the crossing arms. it wasn't the first and it won't be the last. when it comes to stop look and listen, sams trans drivers haven't received that memo.

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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 31, 2013 at 4:24 pm

You wouldn't think in this day and age it would take more than a couple of minutes to confirm this.

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Posted by Las Lomitas District Parent
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Aug 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Gina, I encourage you to contact Mr. Cheema at the coordinates listed in the article (508-6401 or While your experience is not directly related to the reported incident it does support ongoing bad behavior that seems to have eventually led to it.

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Posted by Jennifer
a resident of La Entrada School
on Aug 2, 2013 at 7:32 am

I was crossing the tracks at the same time as the bus in the opposite direction. We started to cross once the arms were up and the lights stopped. During the cross, the lights picked up again and the arms started to come down.

The bus had already started crossing. The arm broke on top of the bus. The bus proceeded slowly and turned the corner after the next block. I do not know if the bus pulled over to call or continued on. It did not continue down Oak Grove.

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