Metro-North’s management’s focus on timeliness of trains has created “safety-critical shortfalls” within the system, according to a federal investigation. The report suggests that these deficits may have contributed to four serious accidents on the Metro-North in 2013, including last December’s derailment and last week’s collision that killed a worker at Park Avenue and East 106th Street in Manhattan.
The assessment found that workers were poorly trained, inspections were lacking, leaving safety under-addressed. This investigation is an urgent call to action to Metro-North’s leadership.
Following December’s derailment, the Federal Railroad Administration ordered a modification of the Metro-North system, calling for additional signal system technology that would alert speeding engineers and trigger the brakes if the drivers do not slow down. The agency says they will be taking “aggressive actions to affirm that safety is the most important factor in railroad operations.”
“Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council Chair Randolph Glucksman issued a statement this afternoon urging the agency to address safety issues:
Metro-North Railroad must act promptly and decisively to put its operation in order. Failing to make real and meaningful changes in railroad rules, practices, and culture not only threatens the safety of Metro-North’s operation, but puts at risk the trust and faith of its riders. Metro-North’s reputation among its riders has been built over thirty years, and now is the time for management to refocus on the foundations of their operation and once again earn the riders’ confidence.”
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