Feds order Metro-North to take urgent safety measures

Emergency workers walk past a derailed Metro-North train in New York in this still image from video taken by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) December 2, 2013.  Credit: Reuters
Emergency workers walk past a derailed Metro-North train in New York in this still image from video taken by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) December 2, 2013.
Credit: Reuters

Following a deadly derailment in the Bronx, federal regulators issued an emergency order on Friday requiring Metro-North Railroad to implement urgent safety measures to make sure its crews did not exceed speed limits.

Investigators have said the train Sunday morningwas traveling nearly three times the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit when it left the tracks near the end of its run from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Station. Four people died in the accident and 70 more were injured.

In its emergency instruction to Metro-North, which runs commuter trains from New York City to other stations in New York state and Connecticut, the FRA ordered the railroad to provide by early next week a “list of main track locations” where a reduction of more than 20 mph is required for passenger trains.

The regulator also ordered the railroad to come up with modifications to its existing control systems, including one that is supposed to automatically apply brakes in some circumstances, to improve mechanisms providing advance warning to engineers about excessive train speed.

The train that derailed was equipped with an alert system which was supposed to set off an audible alarm if the engineer did not touch the controls every 25 seconds. However, the alarm system was installed only in the unmanned diesel locomotive which was pushing the train from the rear, and was not installed in the control cab from which engineer William Rockefeller was driving the train.

Rockefeller, 46, told authorities he became dazed and lost focus before the crash. Investigators said data recordings from the derailed train showed the train had been going 82 miles per hour and that brakes were applied only a few seconds before the train went off the rails.

The FRA said that by the end of December, Metro-North must submit to regulators a detailed plan for making necessary signal system modifications.

In the meantime, the agency said, Metro-North must have two qualified operators in the locomotive cab or control cab when trains are traveling through track areas where speeds drop 20 mph or more until signal upgrades are completed.

“While we assist the National Transportation Safety Board in carrying out its investigation, this emergency order will help ensure that other Metro-North trains travel at appropriate, safe speeds,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

In an emailed statement, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates Metro-North as well as other New York City and suburban transport links, including New York subways and buses and the Long Island Railroad, said it would comply with the federal instruction.

“The MTA is working closely with the Federal Railroad Administration to review our policies and procedures in light of Sunday’s tragic derailment, and we will of course comply with whatever requirements the FRA directs us to follow,” the agency said. “We are examining many other possible steps we can take to improve the safety of our railroad operations, and will continue making every effort to enhance customer and employee safety.”

The head of the drivers’ labor union, ACRE, had not seen the FAA’s order but backed the concept of more safety measures. “Anything that makes the railroad safer is a good thing,” said Anthony Bottalico, ACRE’s general chairman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.