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11-member panel named to study Metrolink safety

Legal News     updated  2008/10/17 08:33

In the wake of the devastating Chatsworth train crash last month, Metrolink's board Friday appointed an 11-member panel of industry experts to take a comprehensive look at the commuter rail's safety and operating procedures. The group, composed of people from industry and academia and a passenger advocate, is supposed to issue a draft report in 60 days. Improvements that can be made more quickly are expected to be forwarded to Metrolink in seven to 10 days.

"It is healthy for us and the public to have a transparent, independent and thorough analysis of the organization to make sure everything is being done at the highest level," said Metrolink board Vice President Keith Millhouse, a Moorpark city councilman who selected members of the Metrolink Commuter Rail Safety Peer Review Panel along with board member Richard Katz.

In the Sept. 12 accident, a Metrolink train failed to heed a warning light and crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board say that just before the crash, the engineer of Metrolink 111 was sending and receiving text messages on his cellphone. Twenty-five people died and 135 were injured in the most deadly rail accident in recent state history.

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