NORWALK, Conn. – A possible tragedy was averted as a Metro-North train stopped within 10 feet of a Norwalk school bus with about 40 children on board that had stalled and was sitting on the tracks Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The incident occurred on railroad tracks along Broad Street that are part of the Danbury Branch between Main Avenue and Route 7.
The bus, which was coming from Silvermine Elementary School, had been traveling west on Broad Street between Main Avenue and Silvermine Avenue at about 4 p.m. Wednesday when the incident happened. The bus driver told officers that he had stopped and looked both ways as required at the railroad crossing, but as he moved onto the tracks the bus stalled due to a mechanical malfunction, according to police reports.
The bus, operated by First Student Inc., was left straddling the tracks.
A 911 call reported the stalled bus at 3:58 p.m., and the first officer arrived less than a minute later to assess the situation.
At this point, the railroad crossing arms lowered as a southbound Metro-North train approached, police said. The bus driver began an emergency evacuation of the students, leading them to a safe area nearby, police said.
The train engineer was able to stop about 10 feet from the bus, averting a possible tragedy.
Two children complained of minor injuries and were taken to Norwalk Hospital for further evaluation, police said. Replacement buses and parents took the remaining children home.
After the area was safely cleared, crews took the bus off the train tracks, and the train was allowed to continue.
"The officer on the scene commended the bus driver and the train crew for their excellent work," said a statement from Norwalk police.