ATHERTON (CBS SF) — An unoccupied vehicle caught fire when it was struck by a train Saturday night in Atherton, according to Menlo Park Fire Protection District officials.

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 that was pinned and entangled under the front grill of the train.

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 Fairoaks 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.

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.

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  1. Jon Brawn says:

    RE: atherton-caltrain-strikes-car/
    So where was the classic video surveillance cameras to get the Caltrain stopped in time?
    Further proof railroad safety is ran by little baboons from deep in the railroads pocket who need to be set free.

    Quick Operation Lifesaver run out and point at the $2 blue signs with a emergency number to call for your railroad buds.

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