The remains of a crossing gate, lying on the Caltrain railroad tracks at Oak Grove Avenue in Menlo Park, disabled a southbound train at about 5:50 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, when a piece of the gate damaged an air hose on the underside of the train, according to Caltrain.
A witness told transit police that a vehicle had crossed the tracks and run into the gate, damaging it, then left the scene, Caltrain spokeswoman Jayme Ackemann said.
Southbound train #264 came to a stop at the Menlo Park station, Caltrain reported. Damage to the train was such that the engineer could not restart the train, Ackemann said.
The incident disrupted Caltrain service throughout the evening. Passengers reported being delayed for up to 90 minutes at the California Avenue train station in Palo Alto. After southbound trains began running again, one local train was so packed with passengers that other riders could not board.
There were no injuries reported due to the incident.
Southbound train #268 was used to push the damaged train to a siding, freeing both tracks for normal traffic, said Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew.
The gates are wooden, Ackemann said. A collision between a vehicle and a gate that leaves the gate damaged is preferable to a vehicle bring stuck on the tracks.
"These things do happen," she said.