Producing the same environmental impacts that freight train operations and track systems characteristically create, passenger rail systems and rolling stock produce greater levels of impact associated with the significantly higher speeds at which they are operated. Reaching up to 80 miles per hour on tracks which seldom, if ever carry freight trains at such speeds, commuter and passenger rail services such as Metrolink produce amplified noise, vibration and other intrusive impacts on their surrounding settings, as well as, significantly increased collision hazards with motor vehicles and pedestrians crossing or near the trains’ tracks.
Passenger trains barreling through long established neighborhoods and other settings at twice the speed of freight trains impose increased negative impacts on the local surroundings and environments through which they pass, and at much greater frequency than freight train operations. Along with the greater frequency of passing trains, are the equally frequent actuation of street crossing safety equipment; with crossing gates, bells, lights and stopped, idling vehicles, running their full cycle every time a Metrolink train passes each one of the system’s 312 street and highway crossings.
Even if Metrolink is able to phase out diesel and other fuel-burning locomotives, the remaining effects, impacts and safety threats that fast-moving, massive trains impose on existing rail systems and environmental settings will remain high and problematic.