Innovations

Metrolink is Southern California’s premier regional passenger rail system and is dedicated to providing the safest railroad possible for our passengers, employees and the communities we serve. In our ongoing efforts to implement the latest in technology, Metrolink has become the leader in commuter rail safety in the country. As part of its commitment to safety, Metrolink was the first railroad in the nation to install inward facing video cameras to monitor activities in its locomotives, will be the first commuter railroad to place passenger cars with advanced energy absorption features (called Crash Energy Management, or CEM technology) and will be one of the first to implement the latest advancement in train stopping technology (called Positive Train Control, or PTC) by 2012 – three years before the deadline for national implementation.


Positive Train Control

Positive Train Control (PTC) refers to technology that is capable of intervening and automatically stopping a train and therefore preventing train-to-train collisions. This predictive collision avoidance technology is also designed to protect passengers, train crews and railway workers and prevent incidents such as, speeding and over-speed derailments, incursions into track work zones and movement of a train through a switch left in the wrong position. Relying on sophisticated new technology, PTC is designed to keep a train under its maximum speed limit and within the limits of its authorization to be on a specific track.

Metrolink PTC Video

Crash Energy Management Technology

Debuting in 2010, Metrolink is proud to introduce the next generation of cab and passenger rail cars to our fleet. Metrolink’s 117 new cars incorporate the latest in Crash Energy Management (CEM) technology, including redesigned seats and work tables, and advanced energy absorbing zones at each end of the cars. Metrolink is the first passenger train service in the nation to include CEM in its passenger cars as part of its commitment to bring 21st Century safety technologies to Metrolink’s commuter rail system.


Inward and Outward-facing Video Cameras

Again demonstrating its leadership in rail safety innovation, Metrolink became the first railroad system in the nation – passenger or freight – to install inward-facing video cameras in all of its locomotives in late 2009. The cameras are designed to confirm trains are being operated properly, and serve as a deterrent to dangerous and inappropriate activities such as texting, unauthorized persons in the locomotive and sleeping.


Automatic Train Stop (ATS) Technology

The ATS system consists of a set of magnetic inductors placed next to the track at locations where trains approach a curve or permanent speed change. Metrolink added 49 inductors to its system in late 2009 to bring the total to 105 along its member-agency owned routes. The ATS system sounds an alarm and triggers a flashing alert from the engineer’s control panel when the train passes over an inductor. If the engineer does not push a button acknowledging the alert within approximately eight seconds, the train brakes are automatically applied.


Grade Crossing Safety

Rail safety along rights-of-way or at crossings is a shared responsibility of regulatory agencies, railroad owners and operators and the local jurisdictions with streets that cross tracks. Programs such as Metrolink’s industry-leading Sealed Corridor Program, comprehensive grade crossing closures and grade separation programs, in conjunction with education programs such as Operation Lifesaver, will continue to enhance safety and help meet growing demands.