2010-03-12 / Community

Metrolink receives passenger cars specially designed to absorb a crash

By Joann Groff

Metrolink has received its first two passenger rail cars enabled with technology that absorbs the effects of a collision.

The crash energy management-enabled Hyundai Rotem cars, the first in a fleet that will be coming to the U.S., arrived at the Port of Long Beach from South Korea last week. Metrolink will be the first passenger rail system in the nation to adopt the cab and passenger cars.

City Councilmember Keith Millhouse, chair of Metrolink’s board of directors, was in Long Beach to welcome the cars into the port.

“As the latest technological addition to our comprehensive public safety program, these new cars will help save lives,” Millhouse said. “Their arrival on our shore is the result of dynamic collaboration with world-class vehicle safety experts across two continents who share our commitment to passenger safety.”

Metrolink began the process of procuring the cars more than five years ago, before the Chatsworth crash that left dozens dead.

On Sept. 12, 2008, a northbound Metrolink commuter train, holding mostly Moorpark and Simi Valley residents, collided with a Union Pacific freight train in Chatsworth, killing 25 and injuring 135 others.

The two cars that arrived last week are the first of 117 cars Metrolink will put into service later this year after a “rigorous testing program.” Any elements in need of modification will be identified and corrected over the next several months.

Most of the work assembling the new cars will be done at Metrolink’s eastern maintenance facility in Colton, Calif. in accordance with the “Buy America” program, which requires that final assembly of rolling stock take place in the United States.

“Performing the work here will also result in expedited training, quicker access to the cars, the extension of more than 50 jobs and the opportunity to start working on modifications to ready the cars for Positive Train Control in accordance with our accelerated strategy to bring this technology to Southern California,” Millhouse said.

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