POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink): "Why most of the freight engines that Metrolink is leasing to improve safety are sitting idle" ....
* Los Angeles Times: "Why most of the freight engines that Metrolink is leasing to improve safety are sitting idle" - From the LAT:
After last year's fatal collision with a utility truck near Oxnard, the Metrolink commuter railroad faced a serious safety issue. The cab car at the front of the ill-fated train did not meet design standards — a flaw that might have caused the derailment, which killed the engineer and injured 28 passengers.As a hedge against a similar incident, Metrolink officials decided to place locomotives at both ends of trains until the railroad could solve problems with its new Hyundai Rotem cab cars — passenger coaches with an engineer's position.
In October, Metrolink officials signed an $18-million-a-year lease with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. for 40 freight engines. They hoped to put the locomotives into operation within weeks of their delivery. Since then, most of the powerful freight engines have sat idle in Metrolink yards at a cost of $500 each per day, and many passengers still ride in the Hyundai cab cars.
"Safety concerns shaped the Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotive lease," said Art Leahy, the commuter line's chief executive. "But implementation has been difficult. Safety has been increased but not as much as expected."
Questions about the slow pace of deployment have been raised by .................