- A Metrolink dispatcher reportedly called train 111 to alert the engineer that a freight train was ahead, but reached the conductor too late. LAT
- Two more names of the dead were released. Roger Spacey, 60, and Ronald G. Grace, 55, both lived in Simi Valley. The name of a 57-year-old black woman has not yet been released, and the name of the Metrolink train's engineer also has not been officially released. DN
- Beverly Mosely, 57, of Moorpark, was identified by the Los Angeles County coroner's office later in the day.
- The LAPD news blog has posted an item and photo on Officer Spree Desha. LAPDBlog.org
- Buses will connect Metrolink commuters between the Simi Valley and Chatsworth stations on Monday, but hours and service will be limited. Check for times and details. Metrolink
* Tonight's National Transportation Safety Board briefing:
Board member Kitty Higgins briefed the media at the Woodland Hills Hilton and said the Metrolink train was traveling 42 miles an hour when it blew through a closed switch and traveled north on tracks where a southbound Union Pacific freight had the right of way. The switch was unable to stop the train and was found "bent in the shape of a banana," Higgins said, adding that it will be months before the NTSB determines the official cause of the crash. She said, however, that early investigation and a reenactment at the Metrolink dispatch center in Pomona shows that the engineer — for unknown reasons — did not stop as required at a red signal. Some points made by Higgins, from my notebook:
- Verbal confirmation of red and yellow signals is supposed to occur between the engineer, conductor and the dispatch center. Earlier confirmations were detected, but not for the final two signals, including the last red. Further testing will try to determine if communications were interrupted.
- "My understanding is it is very unusual for an experienced engineer to run a red light," Higgins said. "The job of the engineer is to follow the signals. That is rule number one in this industry."
- The NTSB says that, contrary to media reports, the dispatch center's computers did not show a problem until it was too late to prevent the crash. The dispatcher tried unsuccessfully to contact the train, then learned of the crash when the conductor reported it.
- Work and medical records of the Metrolink engineer who died in the crash have been requested. His life over the previous 72 hours will also be investigated. His name has still not been officially released. The conductor and three crew members on the Union Pacific train survived but are too injured to be interviewed.
- The teenagers who told CBS2 that they were text messaging with the engineer just before the crash are cooperating with the NTSB, but their stories have not been verified.
- A cellphone belonging to the engineer has not been found in the wreckage or in his personal "grip." Higgins: "I'm not saying there wasn't a cellphone. I'm just saying we haven't found one." She said both Metrolink and the company that employed the engineer say they ban cell phone use during operation of trains.
- Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell's statement that the engineer was at fault is just "one data point" in the investigation, but Higgins made clear it's not something the NTSB would have said: "I don't know on what basis Metrolink made that statement."
- Higgins said a "positive train control" system currently on hold in Congress would have prevented Friday's crash. (Others dispute that, though, since the trains were so close together when the Metrolink train ran its red light.
- Data has not yet been received from the Union Pacific train's data recorder. It may be read tomorrow.