As of Monday, hoverboards and other self-balancing electronic devices will not be permitted aboard Metrolink trains, officials with the Southern California commuter railroad said Monday.
“This is a proactive step we’ve taken to ensure the safety of our passengers,” Metrolink spokeswoman Sherita Coffelt told City News Service.
“There have been concerns voiced about these devices catching fire and blowing up, and until there are more studies done, we’re not going to allow them on the trains.”
Coffelt said that Metrolink executives made the decision to bar hoverboards last week following informal discussions. The matter has not been addressed by the agency’s Board of Directors, she said.
According to Coffelt, there have been no reported injury accidents involving hoverboards and other self-levitating products on Metrolink trains or at its 55 stations.
“We just felt it was prudent to take this action now to prevent anything from happening,” she told CNS.
Hoverboards function like skateboards but operate using electromagnets, rotors and other advanced technology.
Coffelt said that if passengers board trains with their boards, Metrolink personnel will ask them to step off. The devices will not be seized, however.
“They may not be able to ride,” the Metrolink spokeswoman said.
“We’ll try to work with them and give them the option of returning to take another train.”
The engineer of the Metrolink train that struck a truck on the tracks in Oxnard died Tuesday at a Los Angeles hospital.
Glenn William Steele, 62, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at 3:59 a.m., according to Oxnard police and the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
The crash occurred around 6 a.m. Feb. 24 near the intersection of Rice Avenue and Fifth Street, just east of the Oxnard station as Metrolink train 102 was en route to Union Station in Los Angeles. Four passenger cars and the rear locomotive derailed.
Twenty-eight people were hospitalized, with Steele and a passenger the most seriously injured.
The driver of a Ford F-450 towing a trailer became stuck on the tracks when he mistakenly turned onto them, according to his attorney.
Ron Bamieh said 54-year-old Jose Alejandro Sanchez Ramirez of Yuma, Arizona, thought he was turning onto Fifth Street, and had then left the vehicle and went for help.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators said the train was traveling at 64 mph when its crew saw the pickup, about 1,100 feet in front of them, about 12 seconds before impact. One second later, the train’s throttle was moved to idle.
Analysis of the train’s data recorders showed the brakes were applied eight seconds before impact, 750 feet from the pickup, according to the NTSB. The train was traveling at 56 mph at the point of impact.