For the most part, trains that move passengers and cargo on railroads across the United States only follow a red light safety system that became the industry standard more than 150 years ago.  The National Transportation Safety Board has long urged railroad officials to invest in Positive Train Control, or PTC, saying its GPS technology would offer backup control in the event of human failure, which is the main cause of train collisions. Topping the National Transportation and Safety Board’s list of train wrecks that could’ve been avoided with PTC is the 2008 Chatsworth Metrolink crash.

Patricia Nazario live from crash site.


About a month after the crash, Congress enacted the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.  At its core, the law mandates most railroad operators implement PTC.  The upgrade would replace the antiquated red-light signaling system with global position technology, and provide backup control in the event of human failure.

Initially, Congress required train companies to implement PTC by 2015.  But railroad companies said its $15-billion dollar price tag was prohibitive and hired top Capitol Hill lobbyists.  As the 2015 deadline loomed, several major railroads threatened a service shutdown, so Congress granted an extension until 2018.

In 2015, Metrolink became the first commuter rail in the United States to operate PTC across its entire railroad system.

You can share memories, or leave comments for those killed in the 2008 Metrolink Chatsworth crash on the Los Angeles Time website.

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