PASADENA >> Less than one day after commuters rejoiced in the long-anticipated opening of the expanded Gold Line light-rail route connecting Pasadena to Azusa, a fiery big rig crash early Sunday brought the trains to a halt between the Allen and Sierra Madre Villa stations in Pasadena and the newly-operational Arcadia station, officials said.
The big rig driver suffered minor injuries after he lost control of his tractor-trailer shortly before 3 a.m. on the westbound 210 Freeway at Madre Street, California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada said.
But the powerful impact sent the truck smashing through the center median and into the divider, where the Gold Line tracks sit.
The big rig quickly became “fully engulfed” in flames, according to CHP logs.
The driver was able to walk away from the crash, Posada said.
The carpool lane and the two left-hand lanes of the westbound 210 Freeway were expected to remain closed through Sunday afternoon, according to the CHP and Caltrans.
Crews cleared the still-hot wreckage and debris from the roadway and median about 11:30 a.m., Metro officials said. A Metro crew worked to assess the extent of the damage to the train tracks.
The extent of the damage to the tracks themselves was not immediately clear.
Shuttle buses carried passengers between the affected train stations, Metro officials said in a written statement.
“Trains are running every 15 minutes between Union Station and Allen Station and every 15 minutes between Arcadia Station to APU/Citrus College Station,” the statement said. “If looking for an alternative one-seat ride, Foothill Transit’s 187 Bus runs between Azusa and Old Pasadena with stops in Duarte, Irwindale, Monrovia and Arcadia.”
The crash severed the Gold Line route between Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley just one day after an estimated 30,000 riders crowded onto trains following a ceremony Saturday morning to commence operation of the new route.
The 11.5-mile Gold Line Foothill Expansion connects Pasadena to Azusa.
PHOTO courtesy of the Pasadena Fire Department