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Sunday drill will simulate Green line train collision with van

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 4, 2014 - 1:16 PM

Metro Transit hopes there won't be any collisions between automobiles and new Green Line trains, but the agency is following the Scout's motto: Be prepared.

On Sunday, Metro Transit and the St. Paul Police and Fire departments will conduct a simulated exercise at the intersection of University and Raymond Avenues. The drill, scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m., will involve a Green Line train collision with a vehicle. A Metro Transit van will fill that role.

The purpose of the drill is to further acclimate front-line responders to light-rail vehicles and systems, and to strengthen working relationships between public safety agencies, said John Siqveland, a transit agency spokesman.

No significant traffic impacts are expected, he said.

The drill is the second in the past few weeks. This one, Siqveland said, will involve only about 15 people. One last month at University of Minnesota involved 250 people who acted as first responders, controllers, evaluators and victims in a staged accident that simulated a derailment of a light-rail train and an overturned bus in Stadium Village.

Of Sunday's exercise, Siqveland said "It is an important part of our preparedness plans, but not anywhere near the scale of what we did at the U."

Drills such as Sunday's and the one at the University of Minnesota are staged in part to meet federal requirements for new and existing rail lines. Recent multi-agency exercises include a simulated derailment on the Northstar Line in Anoka in 2012 and a mock bus-train crash in Bloomington in 2011.

The drill also comes as Metro Transit is testing trains along the Green Line, which will begin operating June 14. The agency has been warning people to be on the look out for trains and has launched a safety campaign.

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