Metrolink examining safety of state-of-the-art rail cars in wake of Oxnard crash – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Friday, September 04, 2015

After a Metrolink commuter train slammed into a pickup truck near Oxnard this year, injuring 27 people and killing the engineer, railroad officials were quick to claim that new crash-resistant passenger coaches appeared to save lives and reduce injuries.

Now, however, Metrolink is trying to determine whether a design flaw in one of the state-of-the-art cars played a role in derailing the train.

The evaluation marks a setback in the regional passenger railroad’s campaign to employ advanced safety technology to help rebuild public confidence after a 2008 head-on collision in Chatsworth killed 28 and injured 135.

On Thursday, railroad officials announced that they will restrict the use of 57 of the new passenger cars that have control cabs for engineers and operate at the front of trains when they are being pushed from behind by locomotives.

The use of such “cab cars” is common practice among the nation’s commuter railroads when trains reverse direction at the end of a line.

While the railroad, which serves six Southern California counties, reexamines safety features on the cars, built by South Korea-based Hyundai Rotem Co., the vehicles will be replaced with locomotives leased from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. The cab cars will remain in service as passenger coaches used elsewhere in a train’s lineup of cars.

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