Saturday, March 15, 2014


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FRA report critical of Metro-North

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration Friday release its “Operation Deep Dive” report finding that Metro-North’s management emphasizes on-time performance to the detriment of safe operations and adequate maintenance of its infrastructure.

The agency’s report was prompted by the December 1 fatal Hudson Line derailment in the Bronx.

The FRA found an overemphasis of on-time performance, cutting corners to keep trains running on-time; a poor safety culture with no clear safety advocate to ensure safety issues are addressed; and an ineffective training program to ensure the highest qualification standards across all Metro-North departments, especially the track department.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said the railroad has not indicated if any management changes have been made to reflect accountability.

“People who are incompetent need to be shown the door. Incompetence has to have consequences,” Blumenthal said.

The FRA directed Metro-North to address 25 concerns – track safety standards; railroad operating rules, certification requirements for locomotive engineers and conducts, safety training for roadway workers and employees who maintaining rolling stock, train control systems, operations control center, and fatigue management for maintenance-of-way employees.

FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo said the railroad is safer today than three months ago when the fatal train wreck occurred.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY17) called for aggressive action to be taken to increase safety.

Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY) said the report shows Metro-North is “severely lacking a culture of safety.”

All officials agreed that positive train control must be implemented as soon as possible.