NTSB Reported Radio Silence Minutes Before Crash
September 23, 2008 (by Otto Smyth)
According to reports by Metrolink accident attorneys, the National Transportation Safety Board the audio recordings between the Metrolink engineer and the conductor showed they were in communication regularly as a way of verbal safety checks when nearing signals. There were two signals before the crash when there was radio silence, there is a possibility that there was a dead zone for radio communication in this area.
The NTSB investigators attempted to interview the conductor who is still believed hospitalized without results. The conductor refused the interview stating he wanted a representative of the railroad present when he answered any questions.
According to their spokes person Kitty Higgins they have tapes of the Metrolink train 111 engineer Sanchez confirming a flashing yellow light in the vicinity of the Chatsworth station. They have also tested the signals Monday and found they were all in proper working order and a computer confirmed the last signals prior to the crash was a red light.
Higgins also said that they were planning to make a test run with a Union Pacific freight train and a Metrolink train and recreate prior to the collision as another way of testing the signals. The trains will also back away from the point of the collision in order to establish when the engineers were beyond where they had visual contact.