New technology informs trains about earthquake tremors before they can do damage

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
railroad track
ShakeAlert will combine with Positive Train Control to help warn train crews of incoming earthquakes.
File photo

California’s Metrolink will use a technology to help notify train operators of earthquake tremors before any serious damage occurs on rail lines.

The system sends automated messages notifying train crews that they need to slow down or stop as part of an earthquake early warning system. The technology combines the ShakeAlert system with Positive Train Control.

ShakeAlert, which is mainly run by the U.S. Geological Survey and universities, employs a sensor network to detect the start of a significant earthquake. The system sends alerts to the impacted area before the tremors hit so systems can take the necessary precautions. California, Oregon, and Washington are part of the coverage area.

Currently the new system is being tested on a route that includes Riverside and Perris, which are located about 50 miles from Los Angeles.

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