The Metrolink accident should serve as a lesson to the federal government



    OTTAWA, Sept. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - 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
airplane.
    "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 Shewchuk.




For further information:

For further information: (English) Dan J. Shewchuk, (780) 720-9008;
(French) Stéphane Lacroix, (514) 609-5101; www.teamsters.ca,
www.teamstersrail.ca


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