Feds launch Calif. train crash investigation

Feds launch Calif. train crash investigation
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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is investigating a crash on the California Metrolink commuter railway that occurred on Tuesday morning, according to officials with the Transportation Department.

“The accident on Metrolink’s Ventura County Line this morning is a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," an FRA spokesman said in a statement.

"Federal Railroad Administration investigators are en route to the scene, and they will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the factors that contributed to this accident," the agency continued. "Safety must be every railroad's absolute top priority. We will establish what lapses, if any, occurred and order any necessary corrective actions."

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The accident on Tuesday morning occurred when a train traveling on Metrolink’s Ventura line collided with a truck in its path at a crossing in Oxnard just west of Los Angeles. About 30 passengers were injured in the crash.

Lawmakers have expressed concern about the safety of U.S. public transportation systems after a spate of recent accidents similar to Tuesday's Metrolink crash.

"These grade crossings are not accidents waiting to happen, they are accidents happening again and again, claiming lives and causing catastrophic injuries and damage," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) said in a statement, referencing an early February crash on New York's Metro-North commuter railway, when a train collided with an SUV.

"These deaths and injuries can be prevented through better education, enforcement and engineering," Blumenthal continued. 

The recent series of public transportation accidents have prompted the Obama administration to propose new transit safety regulations.

In addition to the Metro-North crash, which killed six people, a passenger on Washington, D.C., Metrorail subway system died last month, when a train on the agency’s Yellow Line became filled with smoke after an electrical problem.