Metrolink train operators to honor fallen conductor

(The following report appeared on the Los Angeles television station NBC4 website on February 3.)

LOS ANGELES -- All Metrolink train operators were asked to sound their whistles at 12:01 p.m. Wednesday in honor of conductor Tom Ormiston, who was among the 11 people killed in the train disaster a week ago, Metrolink said.

Also: Friends, Family Remember Conductor Killed In Train Crash

A funeral service for Ormiston, a 58-year-old Vietnam veteran, was held Monday in Glendale, the same day that Metrolink resumed full service.

More than 180 people were injured in the Jan. 26 derailment of two Metrolink trains -- going in opposite directions -- allegedly caused by a 25-year-old suicidal man who drove his sport utility vehicle onto the tracks at the Los Angeles-Glendale city line.

"Tom was one of the finest men I've ever known -- a classic railroad character," engineer David Hanson, who attended Ormiston's funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, said earlier this week.

Another co-worker described Ormiston as a man who "went out of his way to help the passengers and the people he worked with, and he was well-liked by his colleagues."

A woman commuter who saw Ormiston almost daily for three years said, "It didn't matter who you were, what side of the railroad tracks ... you lived on. He assisted his other co-workers with love, professionalism, dignity, pride and integrity."

After his service with the U.S. Army, Ormiston began working for the railroad in 1970. He reportedly was two years away from retirement.

Ormiston was to be laid to rest in Oklahoma City, Okla., where he was born on July 14, 1946.

Juan Manuel Alvarez, the man who allegedly placed the SUV on the tracks -- then abandoned it before it was demolished by one of the trains -- has been charged with 11 counts of murder. His arraignment was postponed until Feb. 15 at his attorney's request.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

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