13:54 PM

Metrolink Participates in Great ShakeOut with On-Board Earthquake Preparedness Drill

Earthquake Early Warning system uses USGS ShakeAlert®-powered data to automatically stop or slow trains


LOS ANGELES – Today at 10:20 a.m., Metrolink joined organizations worldwide for the Great ShakeOut earthquake preparedness event by conducting an on-board earthquake drill.

At that time, a simulated alert was sent to Metrolink trains in service announcing that an earthquake had been detected. Crews slowed the trains for 60 seconds, and the conductors made an announcement to passengers about the simulation, explaining that the slowing of the train was part of an exercise and not a real earthquake.

“We participate in the Great ShakeOut every year as part of our commitment to keeping our train service safe for passengers and staff,” Metrolink CEO Darren Kettle said. “This year was special as we implement the Earthquake Early Warning technology (EEW) that allows trains to slow or stop in the event of an earthquake. The simulation not only reminds people that earthquakes can happen anytime and anywhere, but it also showcases Metrolink is prepared to keep people safe.”

Metrolink’s Earthquake Early Warning System

Metrolink’s EEW is a partnership with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The technology is based on an interface between the USGS-operated ShakeAlert system and Metrolink’s Positive Train Control (PTC) system.

ShakeAlert is an earthquake early warning system that provides important data within seconds of an earthquake being detected, including an estimate of the earthquake’s location, magnitude, and shaking intensity so people and systems can be alerted before shaking begins. PTC is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments and other unsafe actions. The combination of the two is what allows trains to automatically slow or stop when an earthquake is detected.

Currently, Metrolink’s EEW is available on segment of Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line and 91/Perris Valley Line. Metrolink is continuing to work toward having the technology implemented systemwide.

During the Great ShakeOut, passengers had the opportunity to experience first-hand what would happen on board a Metrolink train during an earthquake.

For B-roll click here