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Driver Hurt as MARTA Train Overshoots Platform at Turnaround Station

July 25, 1996

AVONDALE ESTATES, Ga. (AP) _ Two train cars derailed at the eastern end of Atlanta’s rapid transit system early today, seriously injuring the driver.

No passengers were on the train, and transit officials said there would be no interruption in service for Olympic spectators and commuters.

The train, which had been taken out of service a few minutes earlier due to mechanical problems, overshot the Indian Creek transit station about 5:30 a.m. and ran off the track into a 20-foot gulch, said Chuck Schadl, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

The front car, carrying the operator, ended up angled on its side at the bottom of the gulch. The second car rammed it from behind, breaking a window.

MARTA spokeswoman Laura Gillig said it was not known why the cars failed to stop at the station.

The driver was seriously injured, and it took about 15 minutes to get him out of the car, Schadl said. He was taken to DeKalb Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition, said hospital spokeswoman Stacey Lorish. His name was not immediately released.

The accident did not affect the operation of other MARTA trains, and many passengers in the Indian Creek station did not even know it happened.

Hank Liem, an Olympic spectator from Phoenix walking to a train with his family, said he wasn’t aware of a problem and had been pleased with the Olympic transportation system.

On Wednesday, hordes of sweaty spectators moved slowly but steadily through pedestrian plazas at the Omni as Olympic volunteers shouted directions at them through bullhorns.

Volunteers were posted atop makeshift platforms and urged visitors to bypass the long lines for the train and walk to the next station instead.

``If you want to avoid this line and walk to Five Points or Georgia State _ here’s how you do it,″ volunteer Scott Lancilotti of Boston shouted through his bullhorn.

Crowds at the Omni station swelled Wednesday afternoon as five events in the Omni, Georgia Dome and World Congress Center ended around the same time.

``We are not going to get in that. No way,″ said Esther Wagner of Greenville, S.C., who opted to walk instead.

Police blocked people from entering for 10- to 15-minute intervals to allow the platform below to clear.

The troubled Olympic traffic system suffered another blow when a bus bringing competitors from the rowing venue back to the athlete’s village hit a concrete barrier. A kayaker from Antigua was slightly injured.

Spectators continued to arrive late for Olympic events because of transportation snafus. A shuttle bus to the Atlanta Beach venue in Clayton County was driven miles out of the way to another shuttle at a park-and-ride lot.

``It added about 45 minutes to our travel time,″ said Simon Adir of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Visitors have had some problems with directions. A woman reading her map in the Peachtree Center train station Sunday became so distracted that she fell onto the tracks. Police immediately pulled her onto the platform, and she suffered only minor bruises, Ms. Gillig said.

Update hourly