LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Transportation officials were expected to be joined by local lawmakers later this week at Union Station to announce the debut of the first commuter rail system in the U.S. to implement predictive collision-avoidance technology.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Metrolink Board Chairman and San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, former Metrolink Chair Richard Katz, Metrolink CEO Michael P. DePallo, along with representatives from BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), the Federal Railroad Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board were scheduled to be on hand Thursday, officials said.
The positive train control (PTC) technology – which consists of 5 GPS signals and wayside devices that can detect unapproved train movement or trains going too fast – allows for Metrolink officials to stop the train remotely to override any operator oversight, according to Metrolink spokesperson Scott Johnson.
Congress approved funding for the system in the aftermath of the 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth, which killed 25 people and left hundreds more injured. The agency has also added other safety improvements, including inward-facing cameras and employing passenger and cab cars with crash-energy management technology.
Federal regulators have authorized Metrolink to utilize PTC technology on trains along the Metrolink 91 Line between Riverside-Downtown and just east of L.A. Union Station, the Orange County Line between Fullerton and just east of Union Station, and Inland Empire-Orange County Line between San Bernardino and east of Anaheim Canyon.
The entire Metrolink fleet is anticipated to be outfitted with PTC technology prior to the Rail Safety Improvement Act mandate of 2015, according to Johnson.