Two train conductors are better than one

Metrolink is considering adding a second engineer and new technology to increase safety after the two train crashes that occurred in L.A., one of which resulted in the death of 25 people.

Washington, D.C. – In the aftermath of the two Metrolink train crashes, the railway company has received pressure from train safety officials for new changes to be implemented to the system. Currently in the U.S. Senate in Washington, members are reviewing a recent proposal to include an additional train operator on all routes and increased technology that would stop trains that are headed for a direct collision with another object. The California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, officials with Metrolink, Union Pacific and the Federal Railroad Administration all support this new technology called “positive train control.”

It has been a slow process though, since it is somewhat difficult to implement the technology in places where freight and commuter trains share rail lines. There has been five years of pending legislation that is important to enact the first major updates to rail safety rules since passage of the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994. It is shocking that that law was expired in 1998 and the Federal Railroad Administration, has been operating under the expired law. This is mainly due to the lack of response or change from Congress concerning this matter. The current legislations also propose to implement a limit on the monthly hours train crews can work – at 276 hours. The law that is in place now, states that the train crews are allowed to work more than 400 hours per month, when pilots for airplanes are limited to only 100 hours per month. Surely putting a cap on how long these individuals can work and requiring two train operators would be beneficial. A pilot and his copilot drive the plane, don’t they?

This extremely important and necessary technology must be recognized by our lawmakers and put into effect as soon as is possible, which has been estimated at around 2015. But how many more devastating crashes will occur before the process is sped up?

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