NTSB Calls On Metro-North To Make Safety Changes After Fatal Derailment

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Four people were killed when a Metro-North train derailed Dec. 1 in the Bronx, N.Y.
Four people were killed when a Metro-North train derailed Dec. 1 in the Bronx, N.Y. Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that Metro-North Railroad add audio and image recorders and install speed limit signs after its fatal derailment Dec. 1 in the Bronx, N.Y. 

The NTSB issued the series of safety recommendations Tuesday, Feb. 18, when Chairman Deborah Hersman met with new Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. She briefed him on the NTSB's ongoing investigations and recommendations issued since last May.

The new recommendations call for the use of inward and outward facing audio and image recorders and the installation of approach permanent speed restrictions signs along the right-of-ways.

In the Dec. 1 crash, a southbound train with seven passenger cars and one locomotive derailed on the Metro-North Hudson Line near the Spuyten Duyvil Station, killing four and injuring dozens.

"The images and audio captured by recorders can be invaluable to our investigators," said Hersman in a release. "Understanding what is happening inside the cab just prior to a crash can provide crucial information about how to prevent future accidents."

Investigators have learned that although Metro-North had posted signs for temporary speed restrictions throughout its rail property, "it did not use signage for permanent speed restriction areas including the area where the accident occurred," a statement said.

Since the accident, Metro-North has installed signs to aid operating crews at four locations with permanent speed restrictions, including in the derailment area.

"However, the NTSB believes that Metro-North should use a more systematic approach and install signage at all locations where permanent speed restrictions are in place," the statement said. 

Click here to view the full letter from the NTSB to Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti.

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The signage is a good investment. The additional black box technology I is a waste of money until the maintenance and training issues causing the accidents are resolved. Analysis after the fact will prevent the next accident, but we should be focusing on preventing the ones that are already foreseeable.