Metrolink to Get “Crash-Resistant” Cars

Five years after a deadly crash in Glendale that prompted discussion about rail safety, Metrolink is getting new "crash-resistant" cars.

The car -- the first of their kind to be used in the United States -- are considered "crash resistant" because of the way they absorb and distributed energy create by a crash. The cars have energy-absorbing ends and breakaway interior tables.

Two of the 117 news cars will be delivered in mid-January. They might be in service as early as next summer.

"These cars will save lives," Metrolink Chairman Keith Millhouse said  Thursday.

The total purchase price is $229 million. Final assembly will be completed at Metrolink's Eastern Maintenance Facility in Colton, creating about 60 skilled jobs.

The 2005 crash at a Glendale crossing occurred after a man abandoned his sport-utility vehicle on the tracks near Los Feliz Boulevard. The train crashed into the SUV at the Chevy Chase Drive grade crossing

Eleven people were killed.

The SUV driver, Juan Manuel Alvarez, was convicted of 11 counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Last year, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink train collided with a freight train after leaving the Chatsworth station. An investigation revealed that the Metrolink engineer was using his cellphone to send text messages moment before the crash.

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