The two cars could be put into service as soon as next summer, she said.
Manufactured in South Korea by Rotem, a division of Hyundai, the cars have energy-absorbing ends designed to distribute the force of high-impact collisions. Their total cost is estimated to be $229 million, with final assembly scheduled to take place at Metrolink’s Eastern Maintenance Facility in Colton, Starr said.
“These cars will save lives,” Metrolink Chairman Keith Millhouse said at news conference last week.
The announcement comes more than a year after a Metrolink commuter train collided with a Union Pacific freighter Sept. 12, 2008, in Chatsworth, killing 25 people and injuring 135 others.
The crash was blamed on an engineer suspected of running a red light while exchanging text messages on his mobile phone.
Starr called the day a “paradigm shift” for the agency, whose 149 trains carry about 43,000 riders each weekday in five Southern California counties. Tracks are shared with freight trains and are crisscrossed by roads.
“We’ve been working really hard to change the way things occur on the railroad,” Starr said.
Metrolink has already spent $1 million to install inward-facing cameras designed to monitor engineers. Starr said investigators would lean heavily on the cameras as part of the investigation into Wednesday’s crash in Pacoima in which a Metrolink train struck a car that had been sent onto the tracks after it was hit by a truck from behind.
While no major Metrolink wrecks have occurred since Chatsworth, less severe accidents involving cars and pedestrians are running at the same pace as last year — 3.25 and 3.4 per month, respectively, the agency recently reported.