Metrolink travelers can sleep a little easy now knowing that traveling by rail is getting a little safer every year.
Metrolink announced that the first train with Positive Train Control System was ready for launch and the plan is to extend that system beyond just one train.
Something our locals are enthralled about is that the test launch debuted to our very own Fullerton Train Station.
The train left the Union Station for Fullerton last Thursday, being the first in the nation to begin having a fleet with this system.
PTC is the new collision avoidance system required in all U.S. trains.
Because of the tragic Chatsworth train wreck in September 2008 that left 25 people dead and 135 injured, all train systems are required to have them built in by December 2015.
The Southern California Metrolink system will continue to be developed rapidly until it is fully active by fall of 2015.
According to Metrolink’s CEO Michael DePalla, the PTC will be able to stop a train before it goes through a red signal and could have possibly prevented the 2008 head-on collision between a Metrolink and Union Pacific freight train.
DePalla went into detail about the accident and how the occupied engineer ignored the red signal and crashed into the U-P train that was there.
“This (PTC) would never allow that to happen,” he said.
The computerized technology will be able to take over the train if the engineer misses a light or a safety measure.
The system, costs $210 million, uses GPS, onboard computers and intricate communication systems that make it so the engineer behind the train can also sleep just a little easier at night.
According to DePalla, the global positioning that identifies the situation of the train and radio frequencies will send signals to the train to be able to control it and give it a command.
With a mix of federal state and local funds, the system will be up and running by the end of next year.
Being home of one of the busiest transportation systems in the state, the Fullerton Train Station is just one of many to experience this new innovative system.