Full coverage of September 2008 Metrolink crash and aftermath

A Metrolink crash survivor speaks

A Metrolink crash survivor speaks

Chatsworth train crash survivor has a long road back

April 15, 2009

Chatsworth train crash survivor has a long road back

Racheal Mofya sits quietly, her head down, there but not there.

March 21, 2009

Ex-Metrolink spokeswoman who resigned after Chatsworth crash lands new job

The former Metrolink spokeswoman who resigned in the aftermath of last year's Chatsworth train crash has been hired by the state Public Utilities Commission, the agency announced Friday.

Reports of negligence fuel pain after Metrolink crash

March 16, 2009

Reports of negligence fuel pain after Metrolink crash

The recent drumbeat of news about the reckless behavior and questionable oversight of the Metrolink engineer suspected of causing last year's Chatsworth rail disaster has reverberated painfully for Claudia Souser.

Metrolink jettisons 2 managers

March 6, 2009

Metrolink jettisons 2 managers

Two top managers who supervised the train engineer suspected of causing last year's Chatsworth rail crash were ordered off the Metrolink system Thursday after disclosures of repeated and serious safety violations.

10:27 PM PST, March 4, 2009

Federal inquiry finds rail oversight woefully inadequate

Widespread problems with enforcement of the nation's railroad safety rules and sharp differences over what can be done to prevent future accidents have been exposed by the investigation of last year's deadly Metrolink crash in Chatsworth.

Metrolink engineer let unauthorized 'rail enthusiasts' control train

8:11 PM PST, March 3, 2009

Metrolink engineer let unauthorized 'rail enthusiasts' control train

The Metrolink engineer involved in a deadly rail disaster in Chatsworth last fall not only allowed unauthorized rail enthusiasts to sometimes ride in his cab, but on at least one occasion let a teen take the controls. And he planned to do it again on the day of the crash, records show.

March 2, 2009

Metrolink's commitment to safety reforms comes under scrutiny

Within weeks of a commuter rail disaster in Chatsworth last fall, Metrolink engineers twice did the same thing that is suspected to have led to the deadly head-on collision with a freight train: They ran through red signal lights warning them to stop, records show.

Key details in Metrolink crash probe to emerge at public hearing

February 11, 2009

Key details in Metrolink crash probe to emerge at public hearing

Federal investigators are summoning witnesses to Washington to testify publicly about how rigorously Metrolink safety procedures were enforced before the September catastrophe that killed 25 people and injured 135.

February 6, 2009

Metrolink conductor raised concerns about engineer's cellphone use

The only Metrolink crew member to survive the Chatsworth rail disaster told federal investigators that he had previously complained to a supervisor about improper on-duty cellphone use by the engineer who crashed the commuter train, the crew member's attorney said Thursday.

January 10, 2009

No decision on Metrolink CEO's possible ouster

Embattled Metrolink Chief Executive David Solow kept his job Friday, despite a closed session in which board directors discussed his possible termination.

January 8, 2009

Metrolink report urges safety guidelines

Metrolink needs to improve monitoring of its employees, enhance its safety technology and do more to inform its board members about how the railroad works, according to a safety report on the railroad posted Wednesday on Metrolink's website.

Management knew about train engineer's texting, lawyers say

January 7, 2009

Management knew about train engineer's texting, lawyers say

Lawyers for victims of the Chatsworth Metrolink crash alleged Tuesday that officials with the contractor that provides crewmen to the commuter rail service knew that the engineer involved in the deadly crash had a history of sending text messages while on duty.

December 26, 2008

Experts say sequence of signals may have contributed to Metrolink crash

The position of trackside warning signals near the Chatsworth Metrolink station could have increased distractions for the engineer involved in September's deadly collision with a freight train, according to experts who cite the causes of a similar crash a decade ago.

December 25, 2008

Metrolink plans live video cameras to monitor train engineers

A cutting-edge proposal to focus live video cameras on engineers at the controls of Metrolink trains is drawing fire from employee groups and skepticism from California's senior U.S. senator.

7:10 PM PST, December 24, 2008

Mother sues over son's death in Metrolink crash

The mother of a Simi Valley man killed in a September train crash in Chatsworth filed a negligence lawsuit Tuesday against the company that employed the Metrolink engineer.

December 13, 2008

Metrolink needs top-to-bottom improvements, report says

Top-to-bottom improvements in the safety culture of the Metrolink rail system are needed to reduce the odds of future accidents like the September disaster in Chatsworth that killed 25 people and injured 135 others, a panel of experts said Friday.

Chatsworth crash's roots lie 20 years in Metrolink's past

December 12, 2008

Chatsworth crash's roots lie 20 years in Metrolink's past

The roots of the worst passenger rail disaster in modern California history go far deeper than whether a Metrolink engineer ran through a red stop light and into the path of a Union Pacific freight train.

Crash thrusts Metrolink chief into the unwelcome limelight

December 11, 2008

Crash thrusts Metrolink chief into the unwelcome limelight

He is one of those well-paid technocrats who makes sure things run smoothly, someone few people have heard of but so many depend on. Then something happens, and that cloak of invisibility disappears.

December 5, 2008

Surviving Metrolink crewman says track-side warning light was green

The only surviving crewman aboard a Metrolink train that slammed into a freight train in Chatsworth in September has told investigators that a track-side warning light just south of the crash site was green, his attorneys said Thursday.

December 4, 2008

Autopsy finds no drugs or alcohol in body of train engineer in Chatsworth Metrolink crash

No evidence of illegal drugs, alcohol or medication was found in the autopsy of the Metrolink engineer at the controls of the train that crashed in Chatsworth on Sept. 12, killing 25 people, according to a coroner's report released Wednesday.

December 3, 2008

Red light Metrolink train ran before Chatsworth crash may not have been clearly visible

A critical red light that a Metrolink train ran just before slamming into a freight train in Chatsworth was not as visible as green and yellow signals displayed by the same trackside warning device, investigators probing the disaster have found.

November 25, 2008

Metrolink engineers must slow near possible red lights

Metrolink officials said Monday that they have ordered engineers to slow down as they approach possible red lights, a new safety regulation that comes shortly after two trains collided in Rialto and two months after a fatal head-on crash in Chatsworth killed 25.

Metrolink train in Rialto crash ran red light, inquiry finds

November 22, 2008

Metrolink train in Rialto crash ran red light, inquiry finds

Federal investigators said human error or brake problems may have caused a Metrolink train to run a red light before it slammed into a freight train Thursday in Rialto.

November 21, 2008

By Steve Hymon, Robert J. Lopez and Jeff Gottlieb: Metrolink train collides with freight cars in Rialto

For the second time in less than three months, a Metrolink train and a freight train heading in opposite directions collided Thursday morning, raising fresh concerns about the commuter rail line's ability to navigate tracks it shares with other carriers.

November 4, 2008

Metrolink board lacks firsthand passenger experience

About seven to 10 times each month, Art Brown hops on a Metrolink train.

October 24, 2008

Metrolink sues engineer's employer

Faced with potentially staggering wrongful death and injury claims in the wake of last month's Chatsworth train crash, the Metrolink board today is scheduled to discuss a lawsuit the commuter rail line has filed against the company that provides its engineers.

11-member panel named to study Metrolink safety

October 11, 2008

11-member panel named to study Metrolink safety

In the wake of the devastating Chatsworth train crash last month, Metrolink's board Friday appointed an 11-member panel of industry experts to take a comprehensive look at the commuter rail's safety and operating procedures.

Freight railroads pledge to install advanced safety measures by 2012

October 9, 2008

Freight railroads pledge to install advanced safety measures by 2012

Two freight railroads that share track with Metrolink commuter trains pledged Wednesday to install advanced safety measures in Southern California three years sooner than a new federal law would require -- with several caveats.

Officials of Metrolink operator comment on deadly crash

By Steve Hymon
Veolia Transportation executives say the company is 'stricken with grief' over the collision that killed 25. They decline comment on specifics, citing the continuing investigation.
October 7, 2008

Zambian woman's ambitions waylaid by Metrolink crash

By Catherine Saillant
Fate brought Racheal Mofya to the U.S. to further her goals - and put her on the commuter train that collided with a freight. She has been hospitalized, unconscious, ever since.
October 07, 2008

After deadly Metrolink crash, aggressive lawyers swoop in

By Carol J. Williams
State bar officials cite possible professional sanctions, but the aggressive attorneys note that time is limited and the stakes are expected to be very high.
October 5, 2008

Witnesses say light was green just before Metrolink train crashed

October 4, 2008

Witnesses say light was green just before Metrolink train crashed

Three observers who say they were at the Chatsworth Metrolink station before last month's deadly train crash have asserted in interviews that a final, crucial railroad signal was green as the commuter line's engineer headed toward the collision point.

Train engineer sent text message just before crash

By Steve Hymon and Robert J. Lopez, Rich Connell
In a preliminary finding, the NTSB says Robert M. Sanchez sent a message 22 seconds before his train hit a freight train in Chatsworth. Sanchez received or sent 57 messages while on duty Sept. 12.
October 2, 2008

Firm that employed Metrolink engineer had other troubles

By Jeff Gottlieb
Veolia, the firm that employed the engineer in the Chatsworth crash, has been fined millions in O.C. and Australia.
September 29, 2008

Metrolink adds second engineer to some trains

By Jeff Gottlieb
Relief engineers will ride shotgun on some routes, in a move intended as an interim safety measure.
September 27, 2008

Metrolink chief says agency would consider installing safety systems

By Steve Hymon
David. R. Solow tells the MTA board that there are obstacles to adding automatic train stop technology. But the panel is trying to find $5 million to use toward securing braking devices.
September 26, 2008

Metrolink contractor lobbied for delays in meal breaks

By Patrick McGreevy
The firm's workers include engineers for the rail line and public transit bus drivers. The rule change was unsuccessful and the company disputes whether it would've applied to engineers.
September 20, 2008

NTSB team sorting out what happened in Metrolink crash

By Robert J. Lopez
'It's about gathering facts and only facts,' says the lead investigator into the Sept. 12 collision in Chatsworth, which killed 25 people.
September 20, 2008

Metrolink makes do as 'stepchild' agency

By Steve Hymon
Many services are contracted out and more than half its track is shared with freight trains. Even some board members say they lack expertise on some of the problems the system faces.
September 20, 2008

LAPD officer killed in Metrolink crash is honored at funeral

By Cara Mia Dimassa
Officer Spree DeSha is remembered for her unwavering commitment to the department. Mayor Villaraigosa and City Council members are among the attendees.
September 19, 2008

Probe looks at whether Metrolink engineer's split shift played part in deadly crash

By Robert J. Lopez and Dan Weikel, Rich Connell
Robert Sanchez began work Friday before dawn, took a midday break and was supposed to have finished at 9 p.m. Experts say such schedules can lead to fatigue, and thereby threaten safety.
September 18, 2008

Friends and family pay final tribute to Howard Barry Pompel

September 18, 2008

Friends and family pay final tribute to Howard Barry Pompel

Howard Barry Pompel, one of the 25 people killed in Friday's Metrolink commuter train crash, was remembered today at a Simi Valley service as a vivacious, caring man who gave his time to myriad temple and community causes.

Despite his own injuries, priest gave last rites to crash victims

September 18, 2008

Despite his own injuries, priest gave last rites to crash victims

Still in a daze from the crash, Donald Ashman walked over to the first body.

Engineer led solitary life marred by tragedy

By David Kelly and Sam Quinones
Those who knew him say he had a passion for trains and Italian greyhounds. But his companion killed himself in 2003 and he had run-ins with the law.
September 17, 2008

Metrolink balked at safety upgrade's cost

September 17, 2008

Metrolink balked at safety upgrade's cost

The head of Metrolink warned Congress a year ago that proposals to require updated safety devices on trains would involve "substantial cost" and urged lawmakers to give railroads "flexibility" in choosing and implementing the new systems.

8:49 AM PDT, September 16, 2008

Sandy Banks: Metrolink spokeswoman formed a human link

Somehow, her tears made me feel better.

Effort to rebuild trust backfires

By Carol J. Williams and Louis Sahagun
Denise Tyrrell says she spoke out in hopes of rebuilding trust after receiving permission from agency's chief. While some say she went too far, others think board should reconsider her resignation.
September 16, 2008

After deadly Metrolink crash, somber commuters board trains again

By Ann M. Simmons and Jennifer Oldham, Steve Hymon
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joins riders this morning in Chatsworth. Also, Metrolink's spokeswoman resigns after she is criticized for saying the crash was caused by an engineer's mistake.
September 16, 2008

1:01 PM PDT, September 15, 2008

Sandy Banks: Metrolink tragedy puts parenting in a new light

If I ever thought an "empty nest" at home meant an end to parenting, as I said in my newspaper column Saturday, the stories emerging from this weekend's coverage of the deadly Metrolink train crash painfully put that notion to rest:

September 15, 2008

Metrolink's grim national record

Metrolink has amassed the most fatalities among commuter railroads of similar size in the United States over the last decade, a statistic boosted in part by three deadly train collisions in the past five years, according to federal reports.

Metrolink officials say trains crashed after their engineer drove through red light

September 14, 2008

Metrolink officials say trains crashed after their engineer drove through red light

Metrolink officials said Saturday that a train engineer's failure to heed a red light signal apparently caused the catastrophic head-on crash in Chatsworth on Friday afternoon that claimed at least 25 lives.

September 14, 2008

Heroism and reality collide for rescuers at train crash site

There was spaghetti on the stove at Fire Station 96 when the loudspeaker crackled. Right before dinner. Typical.

September 14, 2008

In grieving Simi Valley, tragedy touches many

In Simi Valley, life went on -- but more somberly than usual.

'Total destruction': At least 17 die in head-on Metrolink crash

7:55 AM PDT, September 13, 2008

'Total destruction': At least 17 die in head-on Metrolink crash

Rescue teams worked frantically into this morning after a Metrolink passenger train carrying 225 people collided Friday with a Union Pacific freight train on a sharp curve in Chatsworth, killing at least 17 people and leaving more than 135 injured. It was one of the worst train crashes in Southern California history and Metrolink officials said they could not explain why warning systems failed to prevent such a catastrophic collision.

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