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Metrolink board to weigh safety steps

Legal News     updated  2008/09/29 03:41

The Metrolink Board of Directors today will consider immediately adding second engineers to commuter trains.

The action, part of a series of immediate and long-term safety measures to be considered, has been suggested several times since the Sept. 12 collision in Chatsworth that killed 24 commuters and the train engineer.

Federal officials are still piecing together why the Metrolink engineer ignored three warning signals before slamming into an oncoming Union Pacific freight train. Preliminary findings indicate the engineer was text messaging in the minutes before the crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Metrolink already has a longtime policy prohibiting on-duty cell phone use. At the board meeting today, Metrolink officials will consider adding second engineers and some more far-reaching recommendations, including setting up an independent commuter rail review panel to look at safety and the work of the contractors who operate the trains.

"There will be a thorough, independent and transparent review of all Metrolink operations," said Keith Millhouse, one of two Ventura County representatives on the agency's board.

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