Conductor May be Key to Metrolink Investigation

CHATSWORTH, Calif. — Investigators probing a fatal Metrolink crash want to interview the train’s conductor and also hope that recordings of verbal safety checks will help paint a fuller picture of what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.

“He’ll be able to tell us whether he recalls the engineer calling out and him confirming those signals,” The Associated Press quoted Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board as saying about the conductor.

Metrolink has already blamed human error for the Sept. 12 crash that killed 25 people and injured 130 more. However, the National Transportation Safety Board says it is still investigating.

The wreck is said to be the nation’s worst rail disaster in 15 years.

Officials indicated the train — operated by Veolia Transportation — did not stop at a red light and crashed into the freight train. A Metrolink dispatcher may have tried to warn the engineer about the looming crash, but it was apparently too late.

Investigators say the train’s data recorders retrieved from the crash site should yield important information. Investigators are also looking into whether the engineer sent a text message shortly before the wreck.

— News Wire