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Rail News: Mechanical

Metrolink OKs $1.5 million expense to repair defective car parts


Metrolink's board late last week approved $1.5 million to repair defective parts on 57 Hyundai Rotem cab cars, one of which was involved in a fatal collision last year.

In particular, crews will reinforce bolts, welds and brackets on the cars' plow assemblies.

During the February 2015 collision with an unoccupied truck and trailer on Metrolink's tracks, the plow assembly of one of the Hyundai Rotem cars broke off. Investigators later found that the plows had defective welds and didn't meet standards for the amount of force they'd need to handle, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The Metrolink train engineer died of his injuries; more than 30 other people were injured in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether the defects contributed to the train's derailment during the crash.

As repairs to the Hyundai Rotem cars are completed, Metrolink will begin removing leased BNSF Railway Co. locomotives from service. The Southern California commuter railroad in December 2015 began deploying the BNSF units to improve safety.

The removal of all 40 freight locomotives will take several months, Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy wrote in a July 8 letter to passengers. Metrolink will remove units on the San Bernardino Line first.

It cost the agency $18 million a year to lease BNSF's locomotives, according to the Times.

Hyundai Rotem also manufactured the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's Silverliner V regional rail cars, which were recently removed from service due to a defect with their main suspension systems.