Remnants of a woodchipper struck by an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner on Friday morning | Credit: Scott Safechuck/SB Co. Fire

A train versus wood chipper collision on the railroad tracks just south of El Capitan State Beach closed the rail corridor through Santa Barbara for about two hours while Union Pacific crews inspected the tracks, Amtrak spokesperson Puja Thomas-Patel said on Friday. From photos taken by Santa Barbara County Fire, the train suffered a crunched nose on the engine and scrapes to the side of the cars, but remained on the tracks. The passengers, however, are derailed until alternate transportation can be arranged.

The crash happened at 10:41 a.m. when the driver of the truck pulling the wood chipper was apparently caught unawares, S.B. County Fire spokesperson Captain Scott Safechuck said. The road is in a narrow area that leads to a beachfront property near Las Llajas Canyon, locally referred to as “the land Brad Pitt used to own.” The driver insisted he was fine and refused medical treatment for minor injuries. Likewise, no one was injured among the train passengers.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.


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