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Rail News: Safety

NTSB releases Metrolink engineer's cell phone records; FRA promises to issue emergency order on electronic-device usage while on duty


Cell phone records of the Metrolink engineer involved in the Sept. 12 Chatsworth, Calif., accident with a Union Pacific Railroad train showed the engineer had sent a text message on his cell phone 22 seconds before the collision, the National Transportation Safety Board announced yesterday. The accident caused 25 fatalities and 138 injuries.

In addition, records showed the engineer received 21 test messages and sent 24 during his morning shift, and received seven and sent five messages during his afternoon shift.

The announcement prompted Federal Railroad Administration officials to promise the issuance of an emergency order prohibiting the use of personal electronic devices by all railroad employees while operating trains.

"Railroad operating employees cannot focus on critical safety functions while engaging in phone conversations, texting or any other form of unessential electronic communication, often in violation of operating rules," said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Boardman in a prepared statement.

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More News from 10/2/2008