Four people are dead and dozens wounded in a horrific commuter train derailment on the Hudson River Line of Metro-North Railroad on December 1 in the Bronx.
New Yorkers enjoying the last day of the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend awoke to the news of another train derailment on Metro-North. Consider that this year alone, we have seen the following crashes occur:
May 2013: Two trains collide on a Friday evening in Connecticut on the New Haven line injuring seventy people.
May 2013: A Metro-North worker is struck and killed by a train.
July 2013: A freight train derailed in the same area as the December 1 crash.
How could these incidents have happened in this day and age? How are the thousands of commuters who ride Metro-North every day to and from Manhattan expected to feel and be safe when they head to work in the morning?
The investigation into this tragedy should be done with utmost care and attention to detail. In the coming days, we may learn that it was human error on the part of the train’s operator who allowed the train to proceed at an unsafe speed, or we may learn that it was a mechanical defect with the braking system on the train. Whatever the cause may be, the public has a right to demand that those in charge of the investigation get to the bottom of it and ensure that the necessary steps are taken to prevent a future derailment. The responsibility to ensure public safety cannot be shirked.
We can only hope that Metro-North cooperates fully with the investigation wherever it leads, instead of assuming a defensive shell to protect itself against the lawsuits that will be brought by the victims and their families. This is first and foremost a public safety issue!