Train derailment leads to new rules

Published: Sunday | December 8, 2013 Comments 0

NEW YORK (AP):The Metro-North Railroad has until Tuesday to identify places in its system with major speed changes under an order from federal transportation officials requiring an extra worker in the driver's cab on routes like the one where a speeding commuter train derailed this week, killing four people.

The emergency order by the Federal Railroad Administration, which also requires Metro-North to overhaul its signal system, was a reaction to last Sunday's wreck in the Bronx, where a train flew off the tracks after hitting a curve at 82 mph, nearly three times the 30 mph speed limit.

The lone train operator told investigators he nodded at the controls and didn't apply the brakes until it was too late.

There was no system in place to ensure he didn't miss the spot where he had to slow down as the curve approached.

Engineers are required to know speed restrictions by heart, but there are no flashing lights, or even signs, to remind them to decelerate.

"While we assist the National Transportation Safety Board in carrying out its investigation, this emergency order will help ensure that other Metro-North trains travel at appropriate, safe speeds," United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

The order gives the railroad, which operates between New York and Connecticut, until December 31 to provide the Federal Railroad Administration with a plan and target dates for modifying the existing signal system so trains will automatically slow down in places where the speed limit drops by more than 20 mph.

"These modifications will help prevent another over-the-speed-limit event if a locomotive engineer fails to take actions to appropriately slow or stop a passenger train," the railroad administration said in a statement.


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