Technology that provides Metrolink crews with advance warnings about earthquake activity, enabling them to bring commuter trains to a safe stop before the shaking starts, will be used on the Perris Valley Line, it was announced Friday.
In a partnership between the California Department of Transportation, U.S. Geological Survey and the cities of Perris and Riverside, the Earthquake Early Warning System will be activated as part of a pilot project in Southern California.
The system is tied into the USGS’ “ShakeAlert” network and will ultimately be linked to Metrolink’s Positive Train Control platform, with the goal of slowing and stopping commuter trains automatically, without crew inputs.
For the time being, however, the yearlong pilot project calls for notifications to be sent to crews, who will be responsible for following instructions as to how to handle an imminent temblor, according to Metrolink.
“Safety is always our top priority at Caltrans,” agency Director Toks Omishakin said. “This new technology will provide innovative solutions to enhance safety on our transportation networks.”
The Perris Valley Line, which encompasses the area between Riverside and south Perris, by way of Moreno Valley and the March Air Reserve Base, will be the first to utilize the technology, and data gleaned from the project will be assessed to gauge effectiveness.
“The technology identifies where protection is needed on a rail network to safely continue rail operations,” USGS Earthquake Science Center spokesman Robert Michael de Groot said. “We look forward to working together to provide real-time earthquake early warning alerts powered by ShakeAlert.”
Bay Area Rapid Transit has used the system for the last 12 months in Northern California, officials said.
The goal is for it to be deployed throughout the entire Metrolink service area.