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OCEANSIDE — An emergency drill simulating a Coaster vs. freight train crash is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Oceanside and may be visible to drivers in the area, according to the North County Transit District. The training is set for 10 a.m. to noon near the Fallbrook Junction area, near Interstate 5 and Harbor Drive. Two train cars, smoke and hazardous materials will be used in the drill, the district said. Crews from the Oceanside Fire Department and other first responders will participate in the training, as will contractors from NCTD and Metrolink. The public will not be allowed access to the area.
During the carefully planned 40-minute drill, firefighters scoured the train for ‘injured’ passengers (played by volunteers) and escorted them off the vehicle.
The training was methodical and precise, with responders huddling together after placing every ladder and escorting every victim.
At one point, firefighters (who participated from city departments across North County) secured a dummy to a gurney on the Coaster’s second floor, eased the contraption out a window, lowering it safely to the ground with a rope and steady hands.
The simulation was no Hollywood event. There was no fake blood, no sirens blaring or smoke or hazardous materials flowing from the train.
The Coaster train remained upright and motionless alongside two freight cars during the drill, which took place in a track yard alongside the main coastal railway, just north of Oceanside near Harbor Drive.
Officials said Wednesday’s drill was a learning experience, one that emphasized safety over urgency.