Originally posted at 9:42 a.m. June 5, 2014. Edited with new details.
A fire in the engine box of a Metrolink pusher locomotive prompted the engineer to stop the train in Irvine today and herd commuters to the front car, as firefighters put out the blaze.
None of the 54 passengers was injured in the fire reported on Metrolink 811 at 8:51 a.m. where the tracks cross Sand Canyon Road near the junction of the Golden State (5) Freeway and the 133 Toll Road, according to Jeff Lustgarten of Metrolink and Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.
About 40 firefighters were dispatched and worked with Irvine police to make sure the passengers were unhurt, Concialdi said.
The Metrolink crew moved the passengers to the front railcar in the five- car train, Lustgarten said, adding that the Riverside-to-Laguna Niguel train was headed south when the fire broke out.
The fire started in the engine box of the locomotive, Concialdi said, and took about an hour to put out.
Once the fire was put out, the passengers were put on buses and taken to their destinations.
The problem caused Metrolink to cancel train 600 and 802 -- those passengers also will be put on buses -- and Lustgarten said trains 632 and 633 likely would be canceled. Metrolink passengers who normally ride 632 or 633 would be given the option of being put on an Amtrak headed the same way, he said.
Train 600 will be used to drag the disabled locomotive to a Metrolink repair yard near downtown Los Angeles, Lustgarten said.
Two sets of track run through the area and, though both were temporarily closed to accommodate firefighters, one set was being cleared about 10:30 a.m. so trains could pass, he said.
How the fire started was not immediately known. Modern locomotives are diesel-electric systems. Lustgarten said the fire was in the main engine.--City News Service