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Metro-North Riverdale Anniversary: Officials say Metro-North is safer

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Officials say Metro-North is safer

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted 12/4/14
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Passengers walk across temporary ramps set up while track work is underway to reach a southbound train at the Riverdale station on Saturday.

One year after the derailment at Spuyten Duyvil Station that killed four and injured dozens of others, train officials, politicians and a commuter advocacy group say Metro-North riders can rest assured that a range of initiatives costing millions of dollars has made the line safer.

Two Riverdalians on the MTA board, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Eliot Engel and the executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC) lauded efforts including nearly $440 million for a next-generation train control system and widespread track improvements. But they emphasized that Metro-North has a long way to go before it can retake its spot as the best regarded rail line in the country.

“They are on their way to being safer — significantly on their way — is the bottom line,” said Chuck Moerdler, a Riverdalian who has been on MTA’s board since 2010. “We have voted for hundreds of millions of dollars [in safety improvements], but it’s going to take time. If it had not been for that accident, it would have been years.”


Action plan


After coming under severe criticism from politicians and regulatory agencies for the Dec. 1 crash at Spuyten Duyvil Station, the MTA in June launched a 100-day “action plan” to improve safety. It has also promised to follow wide-ranging recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Railroad Administration. The MTA’s safety measures include:

•  A $34.6 million investment in inward- and outward-facing cameras for 2,064 cars and locomotives in the Metro-North and Long Island Railroad (LIRR) fleets. An October report from the NTSB found the probable cause of the Dec. 1 accident was that the driver took the train to 82 mph in a 30-mph zone near Spuyten Duyvil Station after falling asleep due to sleep apnea worsened by his work schedule.

A Nov. 17 MTA release said the inward-facing cameras are intended to deter behavior that could hinder train operation and provide a record in the event of future accidents. The outward-facing devices “will be used to record track and wayside activities.”


Read more: http://riverdalepress.com/stories/One-year-after-tragic-crash-Is-Metro-North-safer,55875

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