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Coming Sunday: The move to delay a train safety requirement

February 10, 2012 |  3:27 pm

In the wake of the deadly Chatsworth Metrolink crash in 2008, Congress quickly approved a requirement that passenger trains nationwide install a sophisticated collision avoidance system by the end of 2015.

Federal investigators concluded that such a “positive train control” system would have prevented the disaster that September evening, when Metrolink 111 slammed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train, killing 25 people and injuring 135.

On Sunday, Times reporters Dan Weikel, based in Los Angeles, and Richard Simon, based in Washington, D.C., will explain how Metrolink is forging ahead to deploy the new system two years earlier than required, even as many in the railroad industry lobby Congress to relax the deadline because of high costs and technical challenges.

“I don’t think the rollback is justified,” said Richard Katz, chairman of the Metrolink board. “This is the most important development in our lifetimes as far as rail safety is concerned. Every year we delay, more people are going to die that don’t have to.”


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-- William Nottingham