Southern California -- this just in

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How to prevent the next crash?

September 14, 2008 |  2:58 am

Working on tracks

Could better technology have prevent the Metrolink crash? Dan Weikel and Steve Hymon examined this issue, and experts told them the answer is "yes." But Metrolink officials are more skeptical:

Friday's disastrous collision that took the lives of at least 25 people could have been prevented if Metrolink and the region's freight railroads had installed sophisticated warning and control devices, according to safety experts who have been calling for such improvements for decades. The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates crashes and recommends ways to avoid them, began calling for the technology 30 years ago, after a train wreck in Louisiana. The safety board has repeatedly advocated the technology for high-risk corridors where freight and passenger trains operate side by side. Southern California has more freight trains and commuter trains sharing tracks than any other place in the United States. But railroads and commuter lines here have not installed the technology, which is in use in parts of the Northeast and routes between Chicago and Detroit.

More on the NTSB's investigation into the crash from the New York Times: "Whatever Metrolink’s initial assertion about the cause of the deadly train crash Friday in Los Angeles, there is still room for a thorough and revealing investigation, safety experts said."

-Shelby Grad