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Metrolink chief executive David R. Solow stepped down from the regional-rail operation's top job Friday, but said he will stay with the organization as an “advisor” to implement safety measures that could help it avoid disaster's like the Sept., 2008 head-on train collision that killed 25.

Efforts to implement measures that could increase safety on the train system, however, have been slow in coming, according to some critics. That pressure was felt at the top as Solow, 57, stepped down.

Solow was also criticized for the agency's recent proposal to hike fares three months after another fare boost and during a historic recession.

The Southern California Regional Rail Authority's board of directors approved Eric Haley, former head of the Riverside County Transportation Commission, to serve as an interim CEO for Metrolink while a new leader is sought.

The five-county service carries about 1 million riders a month.