Monday, December 14, 2009

Metrolink, citing safety matters, shuffles executive lineup

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Metrolink has reassigned chief executive David R. Solow to a new position, overseeing deployment of safety system upgrades (including Positive Train Control), and appointed Eric Haley interim chief executive.

Haley was previously CEO of the Riverside County, Calif., transportation agency; Riverside is one of five Southern California counties served by Metrolink, along with Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernadino, and Ventura counties.

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Solow, who joined the agency at its formation in the early 1990s, has been under political pressure following the fatal train crash September 2008 in Chatsworth, Calif., between a Metrolink passenger train and a Union Pacific freight train. Investigation of the crash, still not completed, suggests the Metrolink engineer involved ran a red signal while texting on his cell phone.

A prepared statement issued by board Chairman Keith Millhouse emphasized Solow's expertise in technical matters, and the contributions Solow could make to ensuring rapid deployment of a $200 million safety upgrade.

Solow’s contract runs until at least midyear 2010. In a statement of his own, Solow said he would work closely with Haley, and was dedicated to implementing PTC. “I am pleased to be able to continue this aspect of the work that I have begun," he said.