Metrolink to install tracking system that can stop trains remotely

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Metrolink says it’ll be the first commuter rail service in the country to install a GPS-based tracking system that helps guard against collisions.

The system is called “positive train control.” It tracks a train’s location, speed and response to signals — which means it can slow or even stop a train.

Its an extra layer of protection in case of an accident like that one that occurred three and a half years ago, when a Metrolink train ran a stop signal in Chatsworth and slammed into an oncoming freight train.

"Odds are we would have prevented the crash," according to Metrolink board chairman Richard Katz. "At a minimum, the speeds would have been greatly reduced and it would have been a less severe accident had positive train control been in place."

Federal rail authorities have mandated that all commuter rail services install the system in about three years.

Metrolink plans to do it two years ahead of that timeline.