Three workers in Burbank also died in the collision, including 59-year-old Public Works mechanic Alan Buckley; Walter Fuller, 54, a traffic control manager at Bob Hope Airport; and Dean Brower, 51, an employee at the city’s water reclamation plant.
In approving the plan, Metrolink board members maintained pressure on the Federal Railroad Administration — which oversees the nation’s railway system — to do more to advance the implementation of so-called “positive train control” for passenger and freight trains.
Railroad freight companies Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific, which share Metrolink’s crowded rail lines, were also criticized for “dragging their feet” in pursuing the more advanced technology.
“We need to push it and drag them kicking and screaming to the table,” Metrolink board member Richard Katz said. “Let’s hope they’ve learned something from this.”
National Transportation Safety Board member Kitty Higgins, who led the initial Chatsworth crash site investigation, said a positive-train-control system, which uses global positioning satellites and automated electronic controls to apply emergency brakes to wayward trains, would have prevented the collision.
But Metrolink officials told the board Friday that there was no “off the shelf” form of the system, and that various forms of the technology were still being studied.
Federal regulators have resisted a nationwide requirement until a lead form of the technology is developed and adequately tested, said David Solow, Metrolink’s chief executive.
“They’d rather have more bells and whistles,” he said.
Proposed federal legislation — introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein last week and later amended — would require the system on all major railways by 2015, a deadline that Metrolink board members on Friday said was too lax.