Metrolink Crash updates

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
The Sept. 12 deadly Metrolink crash that has killed at least 25 people and left 135 more injured was the worst Southern California train wreck in more than 50 years. Last Monday, Sept. 15, the first workday after the train collision in Chatsworth, there was understandably less people who took the Metrolink.

Lillian Ford, a supervisor for Los Angeles County’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said “People are probably still in shock, staying home from work. We were expecting more people, but there isn’t. It’s very calm.”

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined commuters early Monday morning at the Chatsworth train station to try to reassure people about taking the train and that safety is Metrolink’s first priority. The LA Mayor said, “I want to dispel any fears about taking the train. Safety has to be our No. 1 concern. Taking the train is still the safest option for commuters.”

To help Metrolink passengers, MTA buses began shuttling commuters from the Moorpark Metrolink station to Simi Valley and Chatsworth while clean-up continues at the site of the Metrolink commuter train crash in Chatsworth. The MTA southbound service leaving from Moorpark begins at 5:07 am, and the last northbound MTA bus leaving Chatsworth is at 7:44 pm. The MTA provided eight buses for commuters, and had four more standing by. They will operate this bus bridge until full rail service is restored to the Metrolink line.

Some of the buses were half-full, but the commuters who did take the Metrolink to work last Sept. 15 said they wanted to overcome their fears after the crash. Those who boarded the temporary shuttle buses said they were shaken up, but still felt riding the train was a safer alternative to taking the freeways.

Volunteers from American Red Cross of Ventura County handed out leaflets to passengers boarding the bus, offering phone numbers that people could call for mental health counseling to help deal with the crash.

Last Saturday, Sept. 13, Villaraigosa ordered all city flags lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of the Metrolink commuter train and freight train crash. He also asked local clergy to observe a moment of silence in Sunday prayer services to honor the victims and to pray for their families and for healing for all injured.

In a related development, Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell resigned after she was criticized that she spoke prematurely in saying the crash was caused by an engineer’s mistake. Tyrrell said Metrolink’s chief executive, David Solow, gave her the authority to make statements to the media Saturday about the cause of the crash. Thus, the statement that Metrolink board Chairman Ron Roberts made to The Times on Sunday––that her statement Saturday was premature––and that he made to the Wall Street Journal that she was not authorized to make a statement blaming the engineer, upset Tyrrell. “I felt the damage to my reputation is so great, I could not work for these people anymore,” she said.

Meanwhile, Villaraigosa called on Angelenos to donate blood in a special City Hall blood drive set up by the American Red Cross on Wednesday, September 17, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at the City Hall, 200 N. Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90012. For more information, readers may call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE and 1-800-448-3543.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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