Rep. Engel Calls Metro-North’s Safety Record ‘Inexcusable’

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Rep. Engel Calls Metro-North’s Safety Record ‘Inexcusable’

October 30, 2014 - 21:44

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16) renewed his call for Metro-North to adopt new safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) after the federal agency issued a probable cause report of the deadly Metro-North train derailment in his Congressional District.

Four people died and dozens were injured after a commuter train missed a sharp curve and jumped off the track in Spuyten Duyvil on December 1, 2013.

“One accident is more than enough when you think about the thousands of people who ride the rails every day, but Metro-North’s failure to monitor potential safety hazards has led to a series of five serious accidents in an 11-month period. It’s inexcusable.

“Thousands of commuters rely on Metro-North to travel to work, home or school every day. The commuters expect, and should receive, a safe train ride. The NTSB has issued a number of safety recommendations -- such as screening engineers for sleep disorders and an automatic braking system – which should be implemented without delay.

“In my December meeting with the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Joseph Szabo of the Federal Railroad Administration, I requested them to act promptly on the safety recommendations of the NTSB.”

The NTSB report said the train engineer fell asleep while operating the train. He suffered from severe obstructive sleep apnea, a condition of which he was previously unaware, that was intensified by a recent shift change. The study also cited the lack of an automatic braking system and window glazing as two contributing factors to the deadly December crash.