Metrolink To Add Second Engineer to Trains

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The Metrolink Board of Directors announced Friday that it will start placing a second engineer on-board some of its trains as an interim safety measure.

The move was prompted by indications that the deadly Sept. 12 crash was caused by operator error. The engineer of the Metrolink train involved in that incident -- which killed 25 and injured 135 others -- apparently failed to stop at a red signal.

The "back-up" engineers will come from a pool of engineers normally used to replace engineers who are sick, on vacation, or out on training. These back-up engineers were previously used to do administrative tasks or collect fares when not needed to run trains.

"We're going to use them as much as we can as another set of eyes," said Metrolink Chief Executive David R. Solow. "It's just an interim measure until we can find something permanent," he added.

Metrolink trains will also be equipped with 1940s-era automatic train stop technology, the agency's board decided Friday.

Voting to adopt a "safety first" policy, the board also approved the creation of a safety review committee composed of industry experts who will make short- and long-term recommendations for safety improvements.

The automatic train stop technology will be used as a stopgap measure while the transportation agency pursues plans to implement the more advanced and expensive positive train control technology as soon as possible, according to Metrolink officials.

Automatic train stop technology, which has been around since the 1940s, uses receivers placed about 100 feet before each warning signal that a conductor must acknowledge within eight seconds, similar to turning off a home security alarm.

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