It was a day of tears, but also smiles, as families, friends, and community leaders remembered the 25 people who died in the September 12th 2008 Metrolink crash, and the 135 people who were hurt.
But, it was a somber moment at Wednesday’s memorial event at Union Station in Los Angeles, when the names of those who died in the crash were read, as a bell which came from the Metrolink train in the accident was rung.
Metrolink officials say they wanted to try to insure a similar tragedy would never happen again. The agency spent half a billion dollars to become the first rail system in the nation to install positive train control. The technology tracks trains and can shut them down if they are in danger of a collision, or are going too fast:
Metrolink put its positive train control system online in 2015. It’s a mandatory system as of the end of this year. But, Metrolink CEO Art Leahy says to this day, many rail providers are fighting adding the safety system because of its high cost.
Federal investigators say the 2008 crash in Chatsworth occurred because the commuter train’s engineer was distracted because he was texting. He ran a red light, leading to a head on crash with an oncoming freight train.
But, the focus of the memorial event was remembering those who died, and were injured. 21 of the 25 who died were from Ventura County. In addition to the Union Station event, there was a memorial held near the crash scene in Chatsworth Wednesday afternoon.