A way to improve the safety of a commuter rail service has been rolled out
The system automatically alerts Metrolink trains — which serve Ventura County — and applies the brakes in the event of an earthquake.
The cutting-edge technology utilizes the USGS Shake Alert system data to automatically stop or slow Metrolink trains before impacts of shaking occur.
"That alert gets sent to our Positive Train Control system and then based on all that information it allows the train to either slow down or stop in the event of an earthquake," explained Karen Bakar, from Metrolink, whose services operate in Ventura County.
ShakeAlert is an earthquake early warning system that provides important data within seconds of an earthquake being detected, including the earthquake’s location, magnitude and estimated shaking so people and systems can be alerted before shaking begins.
Positive Train Control is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments and other unsafe actions.
Bakar explains that together, the two systems allow trains to detect and respond as quickly as possible to an earthquake.
Bakar said that at a time we are focused on train safety, this could save lives and minimize damage.
Bakar says that the trains will be alerted "almost immediately" to any problems and the alert allows safety inspection to the track and support resumption of service following an earthquake.