OAKLAND, Calif. —
“Both people had extensive experience working around moving trains in both the freight train and the rapid transit industry,” BART said.
The procedures for such maintenance require one employee to inspect the track and the other to serve as a lookout for oncoming traffic, BART officials said. They did not immediately say whether that procedure had been followed.
Police placed yellow tarps over the two dead who were about 150 yards apart on the tracks.
The victim’s names and ages were not immediately released.
Oversier wouldn’t address questions on the union’s warnings about managers operating trains.
“We’re dealing with a tragedy,” he said. “The labor issues are not in the forefront of our mind.”
The National Transportation Safety Board announced late Saturday that it has informed BART and the California Public Utilities Commission that the federal agency will take over the investigation.
The deaths were the first of a BART employee in five years.
In October 2008, about one stop down on the same line, 44-year-old BART employee James Strickland was hit him from behind while inspecting the tracks. Trains in both directions were sharing the same stretch of track at the time because of maintenance and Strickland had apparently been unaware.
Before Saturday’s accident, union leaders spent much of the day attempting to convince the riders who make 400,000 daily trips on the system that workers’ demands are not unreasonable amid increasing hostility in social media and other outlets.
The ATU agreed with BART management on the economic parts of the contract, including a 12 percent pay raise that when increased pension and health insurance costs becomes nearly a 1 percent salary loss for workers, Bryant said. The two sides came to an impasse over work rules, including the length of the work day and when overtime pay kicks in, the union said.