The Metrolink accident should serve as a
lesson to the federal government
Published: September 25, 2008
Source: Teamsters Canada Rail Conference
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Ottawa -- The toll from the head-on collision between a Metrolink
passenger train and a Union Pacific freight train, on September 15 in
Chatsworth (50 km northwest of Los Angeles), comes to 25 dead and 134
injured, including around forty in critical condition; this is the worst
train accident in the United States in the last fifteen years or more.
There was only one locomotive engineer on board the Metrolink train that
failed to stop.
“The safety of rail industry workers, in addition to that of the public,
is at stake if a single locomotive engineer is left to operate a train
in isolation, in particular those high speed passenger train operations”
said Dan Shewchuk, President of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. “Each
second is precious and a momentary lapse of concentration can lead to
catastrophes of this nature,” he added.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference insists that the federal government
intervene to force companies working in rail transport to put two people
in the cab of a locomotive similar to that required in the cockpit of an
“The Metrolink accident must serve as a lesson for us and remind
Canadians that it is necessary to have more than one locomotive engineer
in the cab of the locomotive to ensure passengers’ safety,” warned
Shewchuk. “Trains often carry more passengers than planes!”
The commuter train, which was carrying 222 people, had entered onto a
track while the Union Pacific freight train arrived head-on. The two
trains collided while each was traveling at about 60 km/h.
“Just imagine if the freight train had been transporting dangerous
materials. The situation would have been apocalyptic,” concluded
The Teamsters Union represent about 15,000 workers in the Canadian rail