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Metra testing security cameras on Electric Line train

Sun-Times file photo

Metra has installed 11 small cameras inside one of their Electric Line railcars as part of a preliminary test to determine how camera technology can be used on their trains.

The cameras are being tested for functionality, location and range, according to a statement from Metra.

Test results will serve as “the first step Metra needs to take before we can move forward with a plan to buy cameras for more of our cars,” Metra CEO Don Orseno said in the statement.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided Metra with grant funding to purchase the 11 cameras needed for testing from operating funds from its 2016 budget, Metra said.

Metra’s Electric Line was chosen to conduct testing because the railcars on that line have the newest equipment and are pre-wired for technology, making the cameras easiest to install, Metra said.

Currently there are cameras installed on the front of each of Metra’s locomotives with plans to purchase cameras in the engineer’s compartment on its full fleet of locomotives and cab cars in late 2016, the statement said. Metra’s fleet consists of 1,028 passenger railcars.

Test results will determine the probability of grant funding from DHS and the possibility of additional cameras being installed inside railcars in 2017, Metra said.