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

Marshals, cops arrest fugitive after shootout in Queens

Federal authorities arrested a fugitive hiding out in Queens after he shot at U.S. Marshals and officers with the New York City Police Department.

Breaking: National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.