Case 204

The Glendale Train Crash

On January 26 2005, 25-year-old Juan Alvarez parked his car on a railway line in Glendale, Los Angeles, causing an explosive train crash that killed and injured dozens of commuters. Alvarez, plagued by family troubles and a difficult past, claimed it was an accident but those who witnessed the crash said otherwise. Was Alvarez an innocent victim or a calculating killer?



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Research – Holly Boyd

Writing – Jessica Forsayeth

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska




People v Alvarez, Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division One, January 24, 2012



Crashworthiness analysis of the January 26, 2005 Glendale, California rail collision – Joint Rail Conference



Disaster on the rails – Journal of Emergency Medical Services



10 die in LA train crash; murder charge planned – Herald Tribune 

Train hits SUV — 11 die in Glendale / Suicidal man blamed for crash – SF Gate

California train strikes an SUV; at least 11 dead – The New York Times

Among Dead were the loyal, caring, positive and helpful – LA Times

A goodbye to ‘Papa Tom’ BLET

A life story that no news report can tell – The Bakersfield Californian

Blood on the tracks – Washington Post

Ceremony observes anniversary of crash – Daily News

1 year after Metrolink crash, family mourns – Daily News

Metrolink victims’ families testify – ABC 7

Defendant’s sister testifies – LA Times

Juan Alvarez takes the witness stand in Metrolink crash trial Daily News

Prosecution grills Alvarez – LA Times

The man, the myth, the murderer – Daily News

Murder conviction in train collision – SF Gate

Train wrecker Juan Manuel Alvarez, 29, gets life in prison – Daily News

Alvarez’s sentencing underway – LA Times

Man who caused fatal train wreck receives 11 life sentences – Daily News

Life without parole recommended for convicted Metrolink killer – Simi Valley Acorn

Appellate panel considers conviction in 2005 train derailment – LA Times 

Train victim’s husband dies in cycle crash – Daily News

Attorneys for victims in 2005 Glendale train crash fault engineer – LA Times

Victims of 2005 Metrolink crash settle for $30 million – The Orange County Register

In the 10 years since the Glendale train crash – Daily News

Officials look back at deadly 2005 crash – LA Times

Two years after Chatsworth crash, Metrolink tries to look forward – 89.3 KPCC



Manuel Alcala

A goodbye to ‘Papa Tom’





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