Car tangles with MAX train in Glenfair; MAX wins

Fortunately, no one was injured in this odd, outer East Portland smashup …

Eastbound trains along the TriMet MAX Light Rail Blue Line came to an abrupt halt in the Glenfair neighborhood when a car drove up onto the tracks – where there is no vehicle crossing.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The driver of a TriMet MAX Light Rail Blue Line train was likely surprised to see a vehicle attempting to cross the tracks along SE 157th Avenue on Wednesday evening, February 2 – and hit the train’s emergency brakes.

What was the reason for the train driver’s astonishment? There is no vehicle crossing at SE 157th Avenue – only a well-marked, zig-zag pedestrian passage.

TriMet Customer Safety Officer staff members look at the smashed car, after it was hit by the emergency-braking light rail train.

At 6:57 p.m. that evening, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Mill Park Station No 7’s Ladder Company, and Engine Companies from PF&R stations 30 and 3, were dispatched to the crash. Three ambulances responded, too.

Then, at 7:01 p.m. a Portland Police Bureau officer, a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Transit Police officer, and TriMet Customer Safety Officers were dispatched to join the crowd.

Because the alert TriMet operator of this light rail train managed to slow down substantially before the impact, a major tragedy was averted.

Within minutes, emergency medical first-responders radioed back to their dispatcher that they hadn’t found any injured persons on the MAX train, or in the crunched SCION xB subcompact hatchback that was wedged on the tracks.

“Due to the dark and damp conditions, it looks as if the driver of the car – unfamiliar with the area – didn’t notice that northbound SE 157th Avenue dead-ends at East Burnside Street,” a Customer Safety Officer told East Portland News.

Officials await the arrival of a wrecker to pull the damaged car off the tracks, as they continue to check the TriMet MAX Light Rail train for damage.

As we photographed the crash scene, it seemed to us that SCION had jumped the northern curb of East Burnside Street, and landed on the tracks just as the MAX train was arriving.

The impact by the train smashed the front passenger-side of the vehicle sideways, into the sturdy pedestrian crossing bars, warping them – and damaging the vehicle substantially.

Whether the driver of the SCION will be cited for this accident has apparently not yet been decided.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News



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