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Metro-North Implementing New Safety Measures

The changes are in response to the fatal train accident in the Bronx, NY.

Metro-North Signal Department workers consult circuit diagrams, make signal changes and test the system at Spuyten Duyvil. Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / J. P. Chan.
Metro-North Signal Department workers consult circuit diagrams, make signal changes and test the system at Spuyten Duyvil. Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / J. P. Chan.
By Patch Editor Lanning Taliaferro 

New protections are in place at the Spuyten Duyvil curve in the Bronx where a train derailed and killed four people, Metropolitan Transit Authority officials say. Protections are also on the way at four other critical curves on Metro-North commuter lines.

The curve at the confluence of the Hudson and Harlem rivers was the site of last week's fatal derailment on Metro-North's Hudson Line. 

The new signal will warn train engineers of the area requiring slower speeds is approaching. It will also automatically apply the train's emergency brakes if speed is not lowered to the 30 mph maximum in the curve.

By the time tomorrow morning's commute starts, at four other "critical curves" —at Yonkers on the Hudson Line, White Plains on the Harlem Line, and Port Chester and Bridgeport on the New Haven Line—conductors will be standing with engineers at each train's control cab or communicating by radio and verbally confirming that the train is moving at the speed limit.

In addition, the MTA reports, Metro-North will reduce the maximum authorized speed at 26 locations to eliminate every place where the speed limit drops by more than 20 mph. Signs will be posted along the right-of-way by Dec. 16.

These steps are part of the MTA's response to the Federal Safety Administration's emergency order  and calls by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to expedite safety upgrades.

"...we must take this moment to pause and explore what new measures can be implemented by the MTA to make Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road the safest rail system in the world. New York’s commuters deserve nothing less," Cuomo said.

Malloy said, “Connecticut has invested, and continues to invest, billions in our rail infrastructure, something that I continue to support. However, given many recent events there is understandably a negative public perception of the railroad infrastructure and state of good repair, coupled with deep concerns for our safety.  While I know that our rail lines meet or exceed the minimum safety requirements set by the Federal Railroad Administration, our goal must go well beyond the minimum.”

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