Statement on NTSB recommendations to Metro North

February 19, 2014

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) ranking member of the Transportation Committee released the following statement today re: The National Transportation Safety Board decision to call for more speed signs and monitoring in response to Metro-North Railroad’s fatal Dec. 1 derailment in the Bronx.

“The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendations for inward and outward facing audio and image recorders on Metro-North trains and the installation of speed restrictions signs at key points along the tracks are good precautionary steps. However, there are still many unanswered questions regarding human error and possible issues of negligence on the line.

“I agree with NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman when she says ‘the images and audio captured by recorders can be invaluable to our investigators…understanding what is happening inside the cab just prior to a crash can provide crucial information about how to prevent future accidents.’

“Metro-North officials have taken some steps to improve safety since the deadly incident including installing new signs and stepping up review of event data recorders. But I also concur with the NTSB in asking Metro-North to use a more systematic approach and install signage at all locations where permanent speed restrictions are in place.

“There is much more work to be done in making sure commuters feel safe again on this heavily traveled rail line, especially in regards to better management and oversight.”

In addition to an NTSB investigation, the Federal Railroad Administration is also doing a 60-day probe into Metro-North called “Operation Deep Dive.” The findings of that evaluation are to be presented to Congress on March 17.

Metro North’s new president and the Metro Transit Authority’s Chair are scheduled to come before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee on February 27th in Hartford.