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Monday, October 26, 2009

Metrolink activates expanded use of automatic train stop technology

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In its ongoing effort to enhance public safety, Metrolink Board Chair Keith Millhouse announced that the agency has activated Automatic Train Stop technology at an additional 49 priority locations throughout its rail system. This ATS installation will expand the number of locations of ATS inductors to 105 on Metrolink routes in Orange County, San Gabriel Valley, Antelope Valley and Ventura County. The new installations are also compatible with the Pacific Surfliner ATS-equipped Intercity trains that operate on the Metrolink system. Metrolink received expedited approval from the Federal Railroad Administration for the expanded ATS program as another important safety measure while the commuter rail service continues to accelerate the development and deployment of Positive Train Control in Southern California.

The ATS system includes inductors placed next to the track at locations where the train is approaching a curve or speed change. The ATS system sounds an audible alarm and flashing alert on the engineer's control panel when the train passes over the inductor. The train brakes are automatically applied if the engineer doesn't push a button acknowledging the alert within approximately eight seconds.

"As part of Metrolink's comprehensive public safety program, Automatic Train Stop will provide greater situational awareness for our engineers and will establish an additional level of protection," said Millhouse. "Inward-facing video cameras, second set of eyes on strategic routes and ATS, working together, will help reduce the risk of collisions along our rail corridors and provide an exceptional safety environment for our passengers and crews."

Earlier this month, Metrolink became the first railroad system in the nation - passenger or freight - to install inward-facing video cameras in its entire locomotive fleet, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to passenger and rail safety innovation. Metrolink has previously instituted advanced safety initiatives with the purchase of the first-of-its-kind Crash Energy Management-equipped commuter rail passenger cars and its industry-leading Sealed Corridor Program. Metrolink is proceeding with its strategy to install Positive Train Control on all Metrolink trains by 2012, three years before required by federal mandate for national implementation, among other safety-focused programs.

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