Partly in response to this year’s fatal crash in Glendale, Metrolink will be the first commuter rail system nationwide to use technology on cab cars designed to reduce the severity of collisions, which could become required for all commuter trains. The technology, known as crash-energy management, is designed to spread the force of a crash throughout the train so the front of the cab car doesn’t absorb the brunt of the impact. Transportation officials said they believe it will prevent passenger injuries and reduce derailments. “It’s like giant shock absorbers,” Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell said. Metrolink will begin selecting new cars in January, but with the new system still in the testing phase, it could be years before crash-energy-management-enabled cars hit the tracks, Tyrrell said. Metrolink will buy more than 40 new cab cars, replacing its entire fleet. Each car could cost between $2 million and $3 million, Tyrrell said. Officials said they believe the system will add protection for trains that use the controversial push-pull method, where the train is pulled by a locomotive in one direction but pushed by the locomotive in the opposite direction. Although railroad officials believe the push-pull method is safe, critics argue that a cab car in the front of the train is more likely to derail than a locomotive. Those critics were vocal in January, when a Metrolink train being pushed from behind collided with a sport utility vehicle left on the tracks in Glendale, killing 11 people, Metrolink’s deadliest crash. “An experience like that makes you look at everything,” Tyrrell said. The Federal Railroad Administration is expected to approve the technology in early 2006 and could require commuter railroad trains to incorporate it. “What we are intending to do with crash-energy management is to improve the overall passenger rail safety regardless if it’s operating in push or pull mode,” FRA spokesman Steve Kulm said. The FRA has been studying crash-energy management since 2003 and already has staged five test crashes. In the tests, a cab car using conventional equipment crumpled more than 20 feet – well into the passenger section of the car. A cab car using the new system crumpled just three feet, Kulm said. The system includes four components designed to increase passenger safety – a connector that recedes into the train to help prevent derailments, structural changes designed to act like a car’s bumper and strengthen the front of the car, and energy absorbers that create crush zones away from passenger areas. [email protected] (818) 713-3669 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!