New Safety Device Designed To Keep Deadly Train Accidents From Happening

LOS ANGELES ( — Transportation officials. politicians and dignitaries unveiled a new technology Thursday that is designed to keep deadly train accidents from occurring.

It was nearly six years ago when a Metrolink train and Union Pacific Freight train collided in Chatsworth when the Metrolink engineer ran a red light.

Twenty-five people died and more than 135 injured in the September 12, 2008 tragedy.

At Union Station Thursday, CBS2’s Randy Paige said officials showed off  the new technology, called Positive Train Control (PTC).

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Metrolink Board Chairman and San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, former Metrolink Chair Richard Katz, Metrolink CEO Michael P. DePallo were among the dignitaries heralding the new high-tech system.

Metrolink is also the first commuter rail system to use the new technology.

PTC consists of five GPS signals and wayside devices that can detect unapproved train movement or trains going too fast. The system allows for Metrolink officials to stop the train remotely to override any operator oversight, according to Metrolink spokesperson Scott Johnson.

Paige sat in a train simulator and noticed the sharp contrast of being in a 500-ton freight train barreling down the tracks at 80 mph and one where a similar train could be stopped remotely.

R.T. McCarthy, director of operations at Metrolink, was one of the investigators in the Chatsworth accident.

Of the new safety measure he says, “It’s closure I think for us, it’s making this the safest railroad in the country.”


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