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Green Line test trains had 14 emergency-brake incidents

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MPR News reports that the test trains running in the last few months on the Green line light-rail route have had 10 close calls with pedestrians, cyclists and cars, in addition to four widely publicized collisions with vehicles.

In all, test train operators have applied the emergency brakes a total of 14 times, MPR reports. Rules require train drivers to report every case in which the emergency brakes are activated, and MPR obtained the records, creating a map showing each incident.

In most of the cases, motorists or pedestrians were responsible for the near-collisions, and drivers and pedestrians were cited, MPR reports.

In three of the 14 cases, the same driver applied the emergency brakes when no other vehicles or pedestrians were involved, and that driver has returned to a bus-driving job, MPR notes.

MPR also notes that emergency brake applications are not uncommon on the Blue Line, made on average about once a day. That line has been running since 2004.

The most recent of the four actual collisions was Sunday night, when a car and train collided near the offices of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Portland Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.

Fault in that case was not immediately established. The car's young female driver was treated at the scene and released, and her badly damaged car was towed from the scene, the Star Tribune reported. The train driver was unhurt, and the train itself had very minor damage.

After decades of debate and several years of construction, the Green Line opens Saturday, with free rides for passengers through the weekend. The 11-mile, 18-station route connects the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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