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An accident involving two trains that hit head on collision happened on the 29th September 2011 killing 36 people and injuring 128 victims. The train clash happened when Metrolink engineer Robert Sanchez neglected a signal because he was busy “text-messaging” someone using his cellphone. The Metrolink staff is prohibited from using cellphones while on duty, therefore, the Railway Corporation is yet to make an official communication concerning what really happened besides the negligence that caused destruction of infrastructure worth billions.
The accident would have been prevented had the railway corporation used automatic brake technology system that support instant stop. The FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo bitterly blamed Metrolink commuter locomotive and Union Pacific Corporation freight train for negligence since none of the company has installed automatic and “positive train control equipment” to mitigate risks such as head-on-collision.
The main manufacturers of positive train control technology include Wabtec Corp. whose technology has been tested by Chicago Metra commuter rail service on a 2,600 miles track out of the Unites States 100,000 miles according to Szabo. Four different anti-collision technologies have been tested by Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp.
The United States has suggested under the auspice of the Administration Boardman that anti-collision technology is yet to be implemented in any railways systems because it is under the process of evaluation. A statement from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) indicate that in the near future all train services applying the U.S. railroads will be using anti-collision automatic braking systems that are supported and approved by FRA. Had the trains that clashed been fitted with automatic braking system, the accident could have been prevented according to AAR spokeswoman Patti Reilly. One survivor Mr. Greg Fitzgerald from Brentwood, California exclaimed, “I was a passenger on that train and you’re telling me I almost died because some guy was sending email on his phone?”