Metrolink to add first 2 rail cars of a safer fleet

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Metrolink plans to welcome two new rail cars to the Southland on Tuesday. They’re the first of a new fleet of supposedly safer train cars that Metrolink ordered a few years ago.

The Korean company Hyundai Rotem is manufacturing 117 new Metrolink rail cars with a new crash energy management technology designed to protect passengers by reducing the impact of collisions.

The first two cars are pilot cars, and a Metrolink spokeswoman says they’ll be subject to stringent testing before they circulate in the five-county commuter rail system. The spokeswoman adds that the remaining cars will be assembled in the Southland – at the agency’s maintenance facility in Colton, and that will create more than 50 new jobs.

Two Metrolink train crashes - in Glendale in 2005 and in Chatsworth in 2008 - have killed a total of 36 people. Metrolink has installed cameras to monitor engineers. In two years the commuter rail system plans to prevent collisions with the help of a new GPS-style technology called positive train control.