Train that struck and killed two BART workers was operated by trainee

NTSB investigator Jim Southworth at a press conference Sunday, Oct. 20.
Photo from BART's YouTube account

National Transportation Safety Board investigator James Southworth confirmed at a press conference on the afternoon of Oct. 21 that the train that struck two BART workers was “in operation for training and maintenance purposes,” and that the operator at the time of the fatal crash was a trainee. He said two of the six people on board were trainees.

The NTSB conducted interviews for 8-10 hours with the train operator, the operator's supervisor and someone from the dispatch office. 

Asked whether the driver had received safety certification, he said, “the training is part of the certification process." 

When asked if the driver was previously certified, Southworth said "that is information I don't have." It's unclear if the driver was a new trainee or if his certification had lapsed.  

He said the train was going 60-70 miles per hour at the time, and there was an emergency stop. The train was driven by computer under "Automatic Train Operation" and was not in manual mode.

The district’s decision to run the trains without experienced operators would come against the safety advice of the three striking unions, one of whom -- Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 -- even filed a lawsuit earlier this month seeking to prevent BART from doing so. The case is pending, the union's lawyers told the Guardian. 

“The use of uncertified training personnel to provide uncertified managers with a crash course in how to operate BART trains also presents a public safety issue,” the unions wrote in the suit. 

BART workers undergo 15 weeks of safety training every three years, they wrote, training that saves lives. 

For more on the concerns around safety training and certification for track inspection workers, read our interview with BART safety trainer Saul Almanza.


The BART management's intransigence has now led to people dying. And no one is going to beheld accountable. It didn't take a rocket scientist to predict that using untrained scab labor wouldn't turn out well, but this is one of those times where saying "I told you so" doesn't make one feel any better.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

"And no one is going to beheld accountable. "

As usual. Just as with this topic:

Top Senate Democrat backs Medicare, Social Security cuts.

Put that in your search engine. The article is on wsws. Not to get off topic, but it's all part of what's happening in this country because of useless parasitic management and corporate political career parasites called D and R politicians. And no one will be held accountable. The sheeple who are indoctrinated to vote for the politicians with a D next to their name will dutifully do so using the status quo, "lesser of two evils" thinking they drag out every election cycle no matter what the D political parasites have done or continue to do. The same goes for the Republican parasites and their indoctrinated sheeple.

Excerpt from that article:
"None of these spokesmen for the American financial aristocracy explains why the “costs of an aging society” must be reduced. None of them question the present distribution of wealth and social benefits, under which a tiny minority enjoys untold riches, while the vast majority struggle from paycheck to paycheck, or, in the case of the retired, from Social Security check to Social Security check."

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

"The Great Betrayal."

But blame the left. They couldn't organize coherently around any proposed solutions to a clearly unsustainable $17 Trillion dollar debt or $1 Trillion budget deficits. On economic issues the left is all over the place so none of their ideas get any traction.

When a large segment of the population can clearly articulate the economic changes they'd like to see other than entitlement cuts to SS or Medicare, then it's likely those changes would get implemented. Until then the bond market and large capital owners will be calling the shots.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 8:54 pm
Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

The left is unfortunately characterized as a bunch of wing-nuts like you who spew out hundreds of missives a week about one thing or another. I'd say 6-year olds whine and complain less than you, but I'd be dissing 6-years by even using them as a comparison.

Do the SF community a favor. Take a few months off and do something different because you and a few others here are really driving the ocnversations into the cess pool with your dozens of rants and personal attacks everyday.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

or are you just a pot calling a kettle black?

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

racist x is just a pathetic close minded carpetbagger. so much anger and venom for those with alternative viewpoints. there is clearly something deeper and more sinister fueling all of racist x's unhappiness.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

Classic "Attack the Messenger" routine, rather than address the content of the person's post.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

i honestly could not tell, because his post is not clear, whether he is defending obama, or, as is typical of most "Guest" posts, just lashing out at progressives

i really and simply sought to find out which one he meant

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:52 pm


Mine: Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

was directed at this: Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

I couldn't tell what the person meant either, instead they just attacked you rather than explaining what they meant. That's what I meant by their "Attack the Messenger" routine.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:08 pm

i was responding to 10:14 pm as well

i imagine we'll never get straight answers ;)

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

ski ball bumber

thanks for playing green planet skiball!

Posted by tlikhodfvoihgfd on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

see you all next time

over the rainbow

for more skee ball!

(save those dimes and nickels!)

Posted by mghdjfi on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

Your site is just what was looking for. You have no idea how long I have been pondering the same exact
thing! I am so glad that I am not alone.

Posted by google sem on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 12:42 am

"Do the SF community a favor. "

Fortunately you can't speak for "the SF community." You can only speak for yourself. And if you are an Obama supporter, tough luck. You're part of the problem meaning the corporatist, surveillance-state status-quo.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

Absolutely. They are far from the left. Overall, they are Republicans with a D next to their name, including the White House occupant who has overall turned out to be worse than his predecessor (who does have an R next to his name). Only devout D-partisan fools (who haven't been paying attention) still say and think that D = left, liberal, progressive. WRONG.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

because there isn't enough support for left-wing views in America.

Even the poor want a shot at getting rich, rather than the mediocrity that socialist policies guarantees them.

There are of course left-wing parties, but support for them nationally is marginal. Where are Kucinich, Nader and Dean now? Nowhere.

Americans don't do socialism.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 10:54 am

The reason why neither of the two main parties in the US are left wing is because the Republicans are punch drunk on libertarian tea and the Democrats have been purchased by the corporate elites to do their bidding.


When offered a choice between center/left and center/right, more Americans vote center/left but all who run and win govern center right irrespective of campaign promises.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 11:52 am

deserve. Our government is more right-wing, whoever is in power, it is only because the American people are right-wing, at least by global standards and, clearly, yours.

Observations from the left-most 1%, e.g. people like you, fail to appreciate our natural political affinity. Americans don't do socialism.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

We only get the government that people and interests hustle to make. When the professional hustlers and operators present the illusion of choice at the ballot box and we focus on the ballot box instead of on the hustlers and operators, we get the government that the hustlers and operators want.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

then it is the result of fraud, or money, or misinformation or some other excuse.

But the odd time you win an election, it's a great victory for democracy?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

Voters elect a wide range of candidates but public policy outcomes fall within a narrow band irrespective of who wins. That indicates that elections are the least significant factor determining public policy.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

I'm sure it is one in which a small minority get their way - it would just be a different minority.

I trust activists a lot less than I trust elected representatives.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

Why are you opposed to a more perfect union?

Don't end it, mend it.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:30 pm
Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

Meaningfully participatory democracy modeled on the New England town hall approach upon which this country was founded. That threatens both conservatives and activists as it well should. When that happens, it makes me happy.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

and towns were tiny. But in a city of millions, what that really means is that a few aggressive activists get undue influence. Which of course is exactly what you seek - less voter influence and more influence for people who want to impose their ideas on a majority who would never vote for that in a million years.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

I think that we can innovate on democracy, disrupting the old ways of doing business.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

current electoral system and so you want to replace it with another system where you think you can.

You never ask anyone what they think - you tell them what they should think. That isn't democracy.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

"Americans don't do socialism. "

Wrong. I think most USans love the SOCIALism concept of SOCIAL security---especially when those SOCIAL security checks arrive that they need---and medicaid as well, and the fact that through SOCIALism fire houses serve a major purpose and even sewer systems for example. And "Americans" are not limited to the US as there are Americans throughout the Americas who "do" socialism. Sounds like you haven't traveled much throughout the Americas.

Unfortunately most in the US couldn't find their ass with both hands. And ask them about the US Constitution (instead of the flag) and you'll get a blank stare. Ask them where Syria is, for example, they couldn't tell you. Not the brightest bunch. So really your post is meaningless.

Both Big Business parties in the US are owned, controlled and bought by the corporations, corporate banks and the military industrial complex and the parasites in both parties (it's really one big party with two names) work for them and not We The People. So it really doesn't matter what We The People are because the political parasites don't work for us anyway. They consistently ignore us regardless of what we think, because we are not their owners. Corporations and corporate banks are. THAT'S who they listen to.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

as you say, most Americans are stupid and clearly cannot be trusted with a vote.

Let's give the vote only to people like you and those who agree with you, right?

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

Both extremes think the rest of us are stupid because we don't see their revealed world view.

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

I don't see how this political system translates peoples' world views into public policy, my views or most anyone else's. The left and right are coming to agreement that the electoral system is a rigged game of keep away that has nothing to do with democracy.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

means that X has to happen.

The democratic reality is that X only happens if most people want X, and they do not.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 6:43 pm


Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

"The democratic reality is that X only happens if most people want X"

WTF? You've never heard about any of this:

(search engine):

PC World: E-voting Machines Are Easily Hackable Argonne researchers ‘hack’ Diebold e-voting system
Breaking into system using a $10 electronic component was ‘ridiculously easy,’ says official at national researchlab Voting machines shown to be hackable remotely

jesus, wtf have you been?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 7:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

search engine:

Republican Staffers Charged With 36 Counts of Election Fraud


This article:

Election fraud felony charges dropped for Virginia Republican
Did conflicts of interest by Republican A.G. Ken Cuccinelli and prosecutor Marsha Garst play a role in dismissal?

Excerpt: Colin Small, a Republican Party voter registration supervisor who secretly tossed filled-out voter registration forms into a dumpster last year, had all of his felony charges dropped by the local Republican Commonwealth attorney prosecuting the case yesterday. Small was arrested and charged with 13 counts – including destruction and disclosure of voter registrations, as well as obstruction of justice — in Harrisonburg, Va., in the run-up to the presidential election last year, after he was seen by a local shopkeeper throwing away a bag of registration forms behind his store. Small’s felony charges were all dropped on Tuesday, according to local Fox affiliate WHSV.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

I say that which I conclude that the political center of gravity between campaign messaging and polling of people who respond to that campaign is not what gets translated into public policy by Democratic or Republican winning campaigns.

The Democrats fuck their base on behalf of the elites more often than the Republicans, but the Republicans are catching up. The Republican platform has always shared ample space with the elites, but on that the Democrats are catching up.

It is not that what I want to happen is not happening, it is no matter how anyone votes, by and large the same policies are brought to bear.

I don't for a minute think that everyone agrees with me. But I do think that large majorities that are by definition across the political spectrum favor strengthening social security and medicare, cutting the banks loose from public subsidy and bringing the perpetual war machine to a stop. Yet public policy eludes those consensus matters. Why might that be?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

Strengthen Medicare meaning what?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

to be viable, it actually needs to be weakened.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

for reasons already stated

universal medicare would be great for the economy and therefore self sustaining

Posted by yknjdfk on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 12:58 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

sectors, besides insurance (the latter which is largely a parasitic sector anyway)

there will be a net economic and tax benefit that will allow for the initial tax increase and then surpass it in economic benefit are only considering the first half of the equation

Posted by ylkdzjh on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 1:48 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

Just strike three words from the original legislation: 65 and over.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 8:22 pm

Understanding that is key to you accepting that your policy ideas will never happen, because in a democracy a minority view like yours can never prevail.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 7:59 pm

Obama ran on all of those issues in 2008 and then proceeded to implement policies once elected that were fundamentally identical to those of Bush II.

This is why the Democrats lost the 2010 elections, their base did not turn out to get abused again.

The same thing happened with Clinton 20 years earlier. The political trajectory of the US is not determined by elections.

Polling on all of these fundamental issues is well "to the left" of the Democratic mainstream.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

And Feinstein and Pelosi demogogue on Choice while selling out their Democrat constituencies on "free trade" and military adventurism and other issues.

The key to change is voters to be disabused of the idea that after they have filled out their ballots "D," that they have completed their civic duty and have worked to put this nation on a better course. First step is killing the televisions.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 9:20 am

phenomenon, which in turn was a grassroots reaction against ObamaCare.

The idea that the Dem's lost because they became too right-wing is ridiculous, because the voters then turned to a party that is even more right wing.

Posted by anon on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 9:31 am

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