LOS ANGELES, CA (FOX 11) - Amtrak is currently in the process of installing a new safety system that could've prevented the deadly train crash in Washington on Monday morning that killed six people.
Metrolink already has a safety system in place called Positive Train Control.
In a small building deep into the train yard behind Union Station, Luis Carrasquero sits at the controls of what looks like a giant video game. It's not a game. It's very real.
It's a Metrolink simulator, used to train engineers before they go out into the actual world of trains and tracks.
You may have heard about it, or the lack of it, in coverage of todays' Amtrak derailment outside Seattle. PTC, using GPS based technology, basically tries to eliminate human error or distraction by taking over the train's controls if, for example, there is excessive speed, or a problem with the track that goes beyond what the operator can see.
Metrolink put it in system wide, with about 220 million of our tax dollars, after the Chatsworth train collision in 2008 that killed 25.
Amtrak only has it (so far) on the so called ''Northeast Corridor", and does not yet have it in So Cal or Seattle, (No comment from Amtrak today, best information is it will be in use nationwide by 2018).
It's too early to talk about the cause of the Seattle derailment, but one expert I interviewed Monday says he's pretty sure PTC could've prevented, or at least lessened the disaster.