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Tragedy strikes the Metrolink family, sparks safety innovation
CHAPTER
On Sept. 16, 2005, Metrolink released its CEM specifications as part of its bidding process to acquire the
new fleet. More than 100 firms requested bid packages. Each manufacturer was required to bid on the
base order of 54 trailer cars and 33 cab cars, as well as four other options: option 1 for up to 10 cab cars,
option 2 for up to 10 cab cars, option 3 for up to six trailer cars and up to four cab cars and option 4 for
up to 20 trailer cars. Three major manufacturers submitted bids during Metrolink's public bid opening on
Jan. 24, 2006: South Korean manufacturer Hyundai Rotem, Bombardier Transit Corporation and Kawasaki
Rail Car, Inc. Hyundai Rotem's bid, $306 million, came in at the lowest, compared to Bombardier's $389
million and Kawasaki's $557 million. After comparing the bids, Metrolink found that Hyundai Rotem's costs
for the actual manufacturing of the trailer and cab cars were in line with Metrolink's estimate. In addition,
the manufacturer's CEM costs were comparable to the estimate prepared by the John A. Volpe National
Transportation Systems Center. Metrolink also sent surveys to Hyundai Rotem's major customers and
received positive responses. The manufacturer had produced and delivered more than 4,000 railcars for
transportation agencies in 31 countries internationally.
On Feb. 24, 2006, the Board of Directors awarded a contract to South Korean-based Hyundai Rotem
to design and build commuter railcars equipped with state-of-the-art CEM technology. Metrolink would
become the first commuter rail carrier in the nation to incorporate the advanced safety technology in its
railcars to enhance passenger and crew member safety. The equipment would be assembled at Metrolink's
Eastern Maintenance Facility in Colton, satisfying the Buy America provisions of the American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by creating and maintaining jobs for Americans.
In March 2010, after years of anticipation, the first
two cars of what became known as the "Guardian
Fleet" arrived at the Port of Long Beach. They were
the first of 117 stainless steel cars built with collision-
absorption technology crumple zones on each end
to divert energy away from passengers in the event of
a collision. They were also equipped with other safety
features like high seatbacks, bolted-in seat cushions
and energy-absorbing tables. Then CEO John Fenton
strongly recommended exercising an option before it
expired at the end of November for the purchase of 20 additional cars, bringing the total ordered to 137.
The Board of Directors voted on Nov. 10, 2010, to purchase each additional car for $1 million below the
market value; the cars would have been more expensive once the option expired. In addition, it was cheaper
for Metrolink to purchase the additional cars instead of overhauling the older cars. By the end of the year, on
Dec. 6, 2010, the agency made history when it began day one of its four-day seven-city "Whistle Stop Tour"
to introduce its Guardian Fleet to Southern California.
Sealed Corridor Program
After the Glendale collision, Metrolink began working toward implementing a Sealed Corridor Program.
A Sealed Corridor is a comprehensive strategy to enhance the safety of trains, passengers, motorists,
New Metrolink railcars equipped with Crash Energy Management Technology
arrive at the Port of Long Beach