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NTSB investigators conclude that Metrolink train ran red light in Chatsworth crash

January 21, 2010 |  8:13 am
Live webcast: Today's NTSB hearing in Washington

Federal investigators concluded in draft findings presented today in Washington that the Metrolink train in the 2008 Chatsworth disaster ran a red light and that the accident would not have occurred if the passenger train engineer had stopped as required. 

Investigators have said telephone records indicate the Metrolink engineer was text messaging on a cellphone about the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing to discuss the findings, but agency staff said it concluded that witnesses who said the signal appeared to be green were not reliable. The approximately one-mile distance to the signal from the station, where the witnesses were located, combined with lighting conditions and human limitations contributed to the finding, officials said.

Testing and records from various signals, the system dispatch center and video from the Union Pacific freight train that collided with Metrolink 111 all support the conclusion that the final signal passed by the commuter train was red, officials said.

The draft findings also concluded that if high-tech collision avoidance technology had been in place, it would have intervened and prevented the accident, according to the NTSB staff.

-- Rich Connell

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