Yesterday, the President signed a bill into law, which included provisions introduced in the House by Representatives Adam Schiff, Henry A. Waxman and Elton Gallegly to require all major U.S. railroads to install positive train control' systems designed to help avoid collisions. These provisions came in response to the recent Metrolink-Union Pacific crash in Chatsworth. Similar legislation was passed earlier this year, but it did not contain strict enough penalties. That bill (H.R. 2095) was amended to include many of the provisions introduced by Reps. Schiff, Waxman and Gallegly before it received final approval in the House and Senate in late September.
"The legislation should ensure that proper safeguards will be put in place," said Schiff. "They are tragically overdue and commuters deserve no less."
"This law is an important step forward for railroad safety, but our work does not end here," Rep. Waxman added. "We owe it to the families affected by the Metrolink crash and to all rail commuters to continue pressing for its timely implementation and enforcement."
"As I've said before, this is Step One," Gallegly said. "When passenger and freight trains share a single north- and southbound track there are inherent dangers that must be addressed. The National Transportation Safety Board report on the Sept. 12 Chatsworth crash will give my colleagues and me an idea of what, if any, further legislation is needed."
In January 2005, a Metrolink train in Glendale in Rep. Schiff's district collided with an automobile that was abandoned on the tracks. That collision killed 11 people and was the deadliest Metrolink crash in its history, until the tragic collision in Chatsworth. Rep. Waxman's district includes Chatsworth, the site of the collision that took 25 lives and injured 135 people, 40 of them critically. Twenty-one of those who died in the Chatsworth accident had lived in Rep. Gallegly's district. Rail safety experts say a positive train control system could have prevented the collision of a Metrolink commuter train with a Union Pacific freight train.
The provisions introduced in the House by Reps. Schiff, Waxman, and Gallegly were first introduced in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.