The Federal government is launching what is being described as an “intense investigation” into the safety practices and procedures at Metro North in the aftermath of the derailment of a Metro North train on the Hudson River line in the Bronx on December 1, 2013. According to a release from the US D.O.T. Federal Railway Administration: “On Monday, December 16, U.S. Department of Transportation technical and human factors experts will begin a comprehensive review and assessment of safety-critical procedures and processes at Metro-North. The rail safety team will look at:
- Track, signal and rolling stock maintenance, inspection and repair practices;
- Protection for employees working on rail infrastructure, locomotives and rail cars;
- Communication between mechanical and transportation departments at maintenance facilities;
- Operation control center procedures and rail traffic controller training;
- Compliance with federal Hours of Service regulations, including fatigue management programs;
- Evaluating results of operational data to measure efficiency of employees’ execution and comprehension of all applicable federal regulations;
- Locomotive engineer oversight;
- Engineer and conductor certification; and
- Operating crew medical requirements.
“Safety is our top priority, and this in-depth investigation will help ensure that Metro-North is doing everything possible to improve its safety record,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Together with our other recent efforts, Operation Deep Dive will give travelers the peace of mind they deserve when traveling throughout the railroad’s region.” We called for such an investigation. We can only hope that wholesale changes are made so that no more families will be left grieving for loved ones or having to endure surgery and painful rehabilitation to recover from serious injuries sustained in a future train derailment.