Metrolink previews $200-million crash prevention system

Metrolink on Monday previewed a pioneering, $200-million crash prevention project for a top federal safety official, who expressed concern about railroad industry efforts to postpone deadlines for installing the sophisticated train safety system in other parts of the country.

Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, viewed a locomotive and a rail car equipped with positive train control technology and testing gear at a downtown Metrolink rail yard.

The system combines global positioning devices, digital radio communications and computers to track trains and take control of them if necessary to prevent collisions, derailments and other accidents.

Metrolink officials plan to install positive train control on their 500-mile Southern California commuter rail network by December 2013, two years ahead of a federal requirement for the system to be deployed nationwide. Field testing of the equipment is taking place on nights and weekends.

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-- Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times

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