Metrolink unveils fleet of new, safer passenger cars

Metrolink unveils fleet of new, safer passenger cars in Colton
Metrolink unveils fleet of new, safer passenger cars in Colton
Steven Cuevas/KPCC

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Nearly two years after 25 people died in a Metrolink commuter train collision in Chatsworth, the rail agency has unveiled a fleet of crash-resistant passenger coaches. The new cabs and passenger cars are designed with safety in mind.

How safe? Well, the two sleek, crash-resistant coaches on display at a maintenance yard in Colton were locked to the tracks. And Metrolink still issued a safety warning to the local dignitaries boarding the stationary cars for a sneak peek.

More than 100 of the Japanese-designed, Korean-built coaches will be rolling down Metrolink tracks in the coming months. The double-decker passenger cars come with reinforced bumpers to absorb greater impact. They also have anti-derailment wheels, collapsible tables that'll lessen injuries in the event of an accident or sudden stop and rear-facing passenger seats with higher backs.

“If you look at these train cars, this is the work and culmination of some of the best and brightest minds,” said Metrolink chief John Fenton as he unveiled the new coaches.

“And they had a vision: to learn from all the past accidents and to make sure that we collaborate and work together to be transparent and to come up with the best solutions on a go forward basis.”

The gleaming, silver coaches arrive five years after eleven people were killed in a Metrolink crash in Glendale, and less than two years after 25 people died in a collision in Chatworth. A texting train operator was to blame for the Chatsworth crash. He was among those killed.

“Safety is not simply about innovative rail cars.” says Metrolink’s Fenton. “Safety begins and ends with our people — people who believe in each other, people who have a zero tolerance for bad decisions and unsafe acts. And people who are committed to excellence and continuous improvement. That’s the culture we’re building at Metrolink.”

Hyundai Motors is building and shipping the new crash resistant cabs and passenger coaches from South Korea. Metrolink will outfit them for passenger use at its maintenance yard in Colton. They’ll be coming to a Metrolink station near you later this year.