Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sad Days

I'm sure many of you have seen the plastered images of last Friday's tragic head on crash between a Metrolink commuter train and a freight train along a stretch of single track in Chatsworth. First and foremost condolences to those effected by this accident resulting in 25 deaths and numerous injuries, and a huge thanks should be given to all the emergency personal who's hard and quick response prevented this from being being even worse.

Some have already started jumping to conclusions about what happened, and coming up with their own political spin, but at this time nothing concrete has come out of the investigation. Until a full investigation is completed I'm going to keep out of the circle of speculation.

I'd also like to remind everyone, although this accident does highlight the horror of a train accident, and the need for better safeguards, this is an extremely uncommon occurrence. So much tragedy happens all at once in a train accident, and so a great deal of media attention is devoted when it happens. Fatal automobile accidents happen nearly every day and the extent of their reporting is generally "Expect delays on the 405". In a future post I will discuss further the issue of train safety, and also the relative risks compared to other modes of transit.

The day after the accident, my girlfriend and I continued our plans to take the Red Line subway to Union Station and use Metrolink to get to the L.A. County Fair, along with hundreds of other people. It was a quick, cost effective, and relaxing way to get to the fair grounds and as a bonus included a discount on admission and a free ride on the ferris wheel. More people have been catching on to the benefits of travel by rail, and Metrolink, which serves the outer reaches of L.A County and Orange County has seen ridership grow by 60% in the past 5 years.

It's still very disheartening to think about how many lives were effected by Friday's collision, and I hope that the investigation results in a better understanding of how to prevent such a collision from happening in the future.

The count of the fallen is now 26 after another passenger died yesterday in the hospital. [LAist]

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