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

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.