LOS ANGELES, Calif.– Today the State appellate court decided in Metrolink’s favor on a question important to Metrolink and commuter railroads across the country that rely on “push/pull” mode of operations to provide rail transportation to millions of passengers daily. The State’s appellate court unanimously granted Metrolink’s request for relief from a trial court’s push-pull ruling in the Glendale Derailment case litigation. Metrolink argued that the Federal Railroad Safety Act and the Federal Railroad Administration regulations preclude the plaintiffs’ from claiming that Metrolink negligently caused their damages by operating in a push/pull mode.

Today, the State’s appellate court ruled in Metrolink’s favor. The appellate decision relies upon controlling federal preemption law and recognizes the significance of the FRA regulations which address the relevant safety aspects of push/pull operations.

Metrolink received strong industry support with six transit organizations filing Friends of the Court briefs. Supporting Metrolink’s position were APTA (American Passenger Transportation Association), Amtrak, Caltrans, Caltrain (San Francisco Bay Area), ACE (Altamont Commuter Express – Stockton/San Jose) and NCTD (North County Transit District – San Diego).

This appellate decision, which will become final at a later date, does not end the litigation at the civil trial level because the plaintiffs have asserted some theories of negligence against Metrolink which were not before the state court of appeal.

On January 26, 2005, Juan Manuel Alvarez parked his Jeep Cherokee on a portion of Metrolink track 125 feet from the Chevy Chase crossing in Glendale. He doused the car with two gallons of gasoline and then walked to the edge of the right of way to watch the ensuing collision. A southbound Metrolink train struck the car and as a result left the main line and traveled down a side track. The Metrolink train struck a stationary locomotive in a siding causing the train consist to jackknife and rake another Metrolink train traveling northbound on a second track. Eleven people were killed and 180 were injured.

The driver of the Jeep Cherokee is currently on trial for the murder of 10 Metrolink passengers and one Metrolink crewmember.

For train schedules and directions to the nearest Metrolink station check at or call (800) 371-LINK.

Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service and is in its 15th year of operations. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority, a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink continues to be one of the nation’s fastest growing commuter rail services, operating over seven routes through a six-county 512 route-mile network.

[tags]Federal Railroad Safety Act, Federal Railroad Administration regulations, Southern California Regional Rail Authority, Metrolink wins appeal[/tags]