The committee instead directed the University of California's Institute of Transportation Studies to conduct a comprehensive study that will explore a variety of rail-safety issues in addition to the push-pull method, such as at-grade crossings and pedestrian fencing, Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell said.
"Metrolink has nothing but respect for these various studies as long as they are done well and by a good organization, which this is," she said. "We welcome any information we can get our hands on if it has to do with safety. Safety is our number-one issue."
The denial of a push-pull ban was a blow to Frommer and a contingent of survivors and families of victims killed in a January 2005 Metrolink crash involving a push-pull locomotive. The contingent lobbied in favor of the ban before lawmakers in Sacramento on Monday and Tuesday.
Frommer said that the decision was not an outright rejection of the danger of push-pull trains, and the upcoming study is a positive move toward promoting rail safety.
"I think where the committee was coming from is saying perhaps we should have an independent study on this issue because there really hasn't been an independent study," Frommer said.
"If you look at the statistics on deaths it appears that the push-pull configuration is more dangerous ? with Metrolink 100% of their fatalities were trains that were pushed. But [the committee] had questions about the other rail-line operations and other facts, so we suggested as an interim step that we have an independent study to look at how the trains are being operated and report back to the legislature." Metrolink concurred that the study will help improve safety on railroad tracks throughout California, Tyrrell said. "We look forward to whatever they discover; we certainly are open and willing to talk to anybody who can talk about rail safety," she said.