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Video cameras watching train crews. Needed for safety? Or going too far?

January 28, 2010 |  8:43 am

The 2008 Metrolink disaster in Chatsworth, now formally blamed on an engineer who was text messaging and ran a red light, has prompted federal safety investigators to call for installation of video surveillance cameras in all locomotive control cabs in the country.


Southern California’s five-county commuter service put the nation’s first such cameras in its locomotives last year, part of a series of measures intended to prevent a repeat of the  head-on crash that killed or injured more than 150 passengers. It is one of the most effective ways to enforce safety rules, officials argue. 

But a major railroad union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and  Trainmen, has sued Metrolink, claiming the cameras were illegally installed, violate employees' privacy rights and can increase safety risks by placing new “psychological burdens” on workers trying to concentrate on their jobs.

The three-angle Metrolink video above gives an example of what the cameras capture.  

What do you say? Are video cameras trained on key transportation workers a good idea or going too far? 

Share your views below.

-- Rich Connell

Video: Southern California Regional Rail Authority