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15 September, 2008

Feds: Technology could have prevented train crash

Here it is. Railroad companies are now blamed. It's always the "bottom line" right?

But shouldn't the Federal government pitch in on railroad and road infrastructure, including technology? We should have zippiteedooda train systems. State of the art. Where's the money? They got it to bail out Freddie and Fannie though?

The Hypocrits say: "we regulate by counting tombstones".

Isn't that an understatement?

September 15, 2008 7:10 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES - Federal officials blamed railroads Monday for refusing their requests to install an expensive safety feature on all U.S. tracks that many say could have prevented Southern California's deadly commuter train crash.

Railroads have balked at the cost and reliability of the technology, which is in use on only 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) of track out of about 140,000 miles (225,300 kilometers) nationwide.

The technology has not been installed on the Los Angeles track where 25 people died in a crash on Friday.

"Many times in this country, we regulate by counting tombstones," said Barry M. Sweedler, former director of the Office of Safety Recommendations for the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy like this with many people dead for action to take place, even though people in the know knew what needed to be done and didn't do it," he said.

The system known as positive train control monitors train location and speed using satellite-based positioning systems and digital communication. It can engage the brakes if a train fails to heed signals or gets on the wrong track.

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