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Great ShakeOut: Trains to slow at 10:18 a.m. for earthquake drill

If you're headed out on a Metro train Thursday morning, you might want to build in a few extra minutes to your schedule. Minor delays are expected as all Metro trains take part in the Great California ShakeOut, billed as the country's largest earthquake drill.

With this year's focus on commuters, trains will slow down for five to 15 minutes at 10:18 a.m. and go through earthquake emergency procedures. Metro has advised its passengers via Twitter to listen for announcements and follow directions.

Across the state, in schools, offices and hospitals, people will be asked to "drop, cover and hold on" during the annual drill. More than 9.3 million Californians are expected to take part.

"This is the first time we're focusing on commuters for a ShakeOut event," said John Bwarie, a spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey. "There’s about 250,000 just in Southern California, based on numbers from 2008, that commute across the San Andreas fault."

In Union Station, where more than 75,000 people pass through each day, a recording is to be played over loudspeakers asking commuters and passersby to drop to the ground, take cover underneath something sturdy and hold on until the shaking stops.

Metro trains across Los Angeles County will slow down to restricted speeds -- slow enough to stop quickly and safely if there are obstructions on the track -- until all train operators on the line report back that the line is clear.

Trains won't be stopped completely, and the entire inspection should take about 15 minutes, said Marc Littman, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman.

"This is part of our emergency procedure, and the simulation drill is good training for us," Littman said. "The whole process is during off-peak hours, so there will be minimal impact on service."


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