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Prayers, advice after train tragedy

September 24, 2008

Re "25 linked forever by fate," Sept. 21

When I was in grade school, my teacher had us pause to pray whenever we heard an ambulance because "someone needs help." This impressed me even as a first-grader, and I have remembered the lesson ever since.

As the tragedy unfolded on Sept. 12, every ambulance, every helicopter, was met with the fervent prayer of that impressionable 6-year-old.

I was not alone. The response to this tragic accident renews my faith in the human spirit, even as my heart aches for the victims and their families. Thank you for honoring them.

Jeanine D'Elia

Granada Hills

Re "NTSB tries to sort it all out," Sept. 20

I have yet to see noted in the stories printed regarding the Metrolink crash in Chatsworth the fact that the engineer was alone running the train.

I work as a freight train conductor for a major railroad out of the terminal in Needles, Calif., traveling to San Bernardino.

On freight trains, we have an engineer and a conductor in the lead locomotive. That translates into two sets of eyes looking for signals, two minds on the lookout for potential problems.

I cannot tell you how many times over the last few years an engineer who had been distracted has asked me, "What was that last signal?"

Perhaps Metrolink should have to live by the same standards as the freight railroads. Can you imagine an airline having only one pilot on an airplane? I suppose the lives on Metrolink are not as important as those on an airline, or we few on a freight train.

Richard K. Cox

Fort Mohave, Ariz.

Can you imagine the number of people killed had the Chatsworth Metrolink been a push-train setup? The thousands-of-tons freight train would have cut through the Metrolink cars like a knife through butter, probably killing most everyone onboard.

A collision is going to happen again. Do we want even greater carnage before someone finally protects the public with pull-only trains?

Bert DeMars

South Pasadena

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