New Metrolink PTC System To Be Unveiled - New York News

New Metrolink PTC System To Be Unveiled

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Metrolink is about to make a big announcement. It'll come Thursday at a news conference. The first train with PTC (Positive Train Control System) will leave Union Station for Fullerton. PTC is the new collision avoidance system required in all U.S. trains by Dec 2015 because of the tragic Chatsworth train wreck in September 2008. The six county Southern California Metrolink system will grow line by line in the weeks and months to come until it is fully operational by fall of 2015. When our first PTC  train rolls out on Thursday we will be the first in the nation to begin having a fleet with this system.

Metrolink's CEO Michael DePalla tells me during a 'first-interview' on this story that PTC will "be able to stop a train before it goes thru a red signal." And, could have prevented the September 2008 head-on collision between a Metrolink and Union Pacific freight train in Chatsworth left 25 people dead. 135 were injured. The wreckage was horrible. DePalla says, "In chatsworth the engineer was texting. He ignored the red signal and crashed into the U-P train that was there. This (PTC) would never allow that to happen."

This system uses GPS, onboard computers and elaborate communication systems. DePalla says "there's global positioning that identifies the position of the train. And, that in combination with radio frequencies will send signals to the train to be able to control it and give it a command."

To get reaction we got on the 5:25pm train to Pomona and points east. It takes a lot of people home everyday after work.

Its primary collision avoidance system is the engineer. But, with PCT, that will change. The computerized technology will be able to take over the train if the engineer misses a light or a safety measure.

The system will cost $210 million. A mix of federal state and local funds. Some on the train told me that would be money well-spent to prevent another Chatsworth-like wreck from  ever happening again.

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