(Los Angeles, California – May 31, 2011)
While some railroads shirk safety responsibility for grade crossing safety, claiming “a human life isn’t worth $6 million,” another rail entity, Los Angeles, CA Metrolink, is expending exactly that amount on safety upgrades to the Glendale, CA Doran Street railroad crossing since a study of the rail commute system’s 312 grade crossings showed it to be the “riskiest”.
The existence of an adjacent propane company generates a heavy flow of tanker trucks carrying the extremely hazardous commodity over the railroad crossing daily. “If one of those tank trucks gets struck, you’ll have a bomb sitting there,” says Metrolink Spokeswoman Sherita Coffelt. Metrolink, which operates more than 500 miles of railroad track in six southern California communities, will pay for the improvements via money appropriated last week by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board.
Records show that the Doran Street crossing is on an 18-mile rail corridor that has the highest rate of all railroad-related collisions. But only 65 trains of the 90 daily rail movements (freight and passenger) daily over the crossing are Metrolink trains. The other 25 are Union Pacific Railroad freight trains and Amtrak intercity passenger train operations.
LA County MTA and Metrolink Board Member Richard Katz says that Metrolink “has a new emphasis on safety and is working to overcome earlier criticism that the railroad did little in the past to address dangerous crossings.” Despite the fact that the crossing is used by other railroads, Metrolink seems to be the only one “studying the safety of its crossings and searching for funds to pay for upgrades.”