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Metrolink Chairman: 2008 Chatsworth Train Wreck Could Have Been Avoided

Metrolink will be the first passenger railroad in the country to have Positive Train Control technology.

Twenty-five lives could have been saved and the avoided if a GPS-based tracking system had been in place, Metrolink Board Chairman Richard Katz says.

The technology, called Positive Train Control, can monitor train locations and speeds and detect whether a train is on the wrong track or has missed signals. It can automatically stop a train safely.

"Positive Train Control is probably the most significant development in lifesaving technology that the railroad industry will see in our lifetime," Katz told the Ventura County Star. "I would say that if it had been in place in 2008, we might have averted the crash, and at a minimum it would have been significantly less severe than it was."

A $20.9 million grant from the California Department of Transportation will help finance the $200 million system that Metrolink is now installing in all its commuter trains two years ahead of a federally mandated deadline, Katz said.

Metrolink will be the first passenger railroad in the country to have the system, he the told the Star.

Click here to read reporter Mike Harris' full story.

Leigh Datzker April 02, 2012 at 06:37 PM
It is my understanding that the safety system was available in 2008 and was not deployed due to funding issues. I also recall hearings with Senator Feinstein which occurred within a few months of the crash. I wonder if any resolutions came out of the hearings. My only concern is whether a train operator can override the system and whether the signal halting the train can be received in a mountainous area as we have adjacent to the crash site and in proximity of the path of the train coming from the north in the crash. It would also be interesting to see what happened to the media relations lady who was fired for admitting liability a day or two after the disaster.

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