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Tiny Town Train Accident: 15 Injured at Colorado Attraction

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Tiny Town ColoradoTiny Town, a small attraction southwest of Denver, Colorado, has been around since 1915. It’s a miniature town built to one-sixth scale by a man named George Turner. In 1920, it was opened to the public, and, by 1939, the Tiny Town Railway was chugging along since — until last Wednesday.

At approximately 10:45 am, the first recorded train derailment in Tiny Town’s history occurred. Dan Gosling of 9News has the details of this unusual accident:

Jacki Kelley, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, says the six-car, kid-sized train was going up an eight-foot tall hill when its engine tipped onto its right side, causing its six cars to derail, roll and spill its passengers.

Kelley says 18 adults and children were evaluated by paramedics. Fifteen people were transported to local hospitals. Kelley says the injuries ranged from minor to moderate and included cuts and broken bones.

Deborah Gosling, a hospital spokeswoman, says 12 of the injured passengers were taken to Swedish Medical Center. Eight females and four males were among the patients, seven of which were adults and five were children.

Nine out of the hospitalized passengers have been released as of this report. Two adults and one child remain at Swedish Medical Center with serious injuries.

This may not be a motor vehicle accident as such, but it is a virtual certainty that we will see personal injury suits arising from it. What makes this case interesting is that the train underwent an official inspection just the day before — an inspection that pronounced everything to be just fine, and that the track “was great.”

Howard Pankratz, staff reporter for The Denver Post, tells us that we’ll be seeing the inspector again soon:

The inspector, Joseph Ewald, will lead the state investigation into what caused the train to derail.

[Susan] DeMeules [program manager for amusement rides, boilers and explosives for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment] said that during Tuesday’s ‘drop-in’ visit, Ewald reviewed daily inspection, maintenance and training logs, and observed the track.

She said the state Department of Labor and Employment found no problem with the Tiny Town trains in the past three years, having issued each year an ‘Annual Amusement Ride Certificate of Inspection.’

Since the Tiny Town train is legally considered to be an amusement ride, it is regulated by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Oil and Public Safety. Like all amusement rides, it is required to have yearly inspections. These inspections are required to include stress tests. In addition, safety checks are required daily and must be logged. These daily inspection logs must be kept on hand for one year.

Image by notahandbag, used under its Creative Commons license.


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