Monday, December 2, 2013

Metro-North Train Derailment Investigation Continues


Yesterday early morning a Southbound train leaving out of upstate New York, Poughkeepsie, destination Grand Central Station derailed, leaving 4 people dead, over 60 people injured, numerous critically.

I have boarded this specific train line since a teenager! Can't recall a time where there were any noticeable fatalities or deaths, a reason to be nervous while boarding this line as the ride has always been an uneventful experience, growing up here in the suburbs of Westchester County. As an adult I still ride this specific train line, leaving out of Poughkeepsie, New York heading into N.Y.C, was on this line as recently as last month! I say all this to say, shock, is the word, sadness for the families and those who lost their lives during what they thought was going to be an 'uneventful' journey as well. Read More after the Jump!

CNN reports:

It's not the first time a train jumped the tracks on that turn. A freight train derailed in the same curve in July, damaging about 1,500 feet of track, the Metropolitan Transit Authority reported at the time.
"That is a dangerous area on the track just by design," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said after Sunday's crash. "The trains are going about 70 miles an hour coming down the straight part of the track. They slow to about 30 miles per hour to make that sharp curve ... where the Hudson River meets the Harlem River, and that is a difficult area of the track."

National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener said the agency would look into whether there was any connection between that derailment and Sunday's crash, but both he and Cuomo discounted the possibility.

"The curve has been here for many, many years, right, and trains take the curve every day, 365 days a year ... We've always had this configuration. We didn't have accidents," Cuomo said. "So there has to be another factor, and that's what we want to learn from the NTSB."

The train operator, who is among the injured, told investigators he applied the brakes, but the train didn't slow down, said a law enforcement official who was on the scene and is familiar with the investigation.

"That will be a key point of concern, whether this train was moving too quickly," said Joe Bruno, New York's commissioner of emergency management.
Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said investigators should take a close look at the sharp curve.

"It has been there forever, but the fact that we've had other accidents there means we have to look beyond just the fact that the train engineer said that brakes were not working," she said. "We have to see if there's additional issues concerning that track."
Investigators have recovered an event recorder from the locomotive and another car, but haven't yet examined them, Weener said.

He said the configuration of the train -- with the locomotive pushing the cars from the back instead of pulling the cars from the front -- is not unusual but will also be investigated.


The MTA identified those killed as Donna L. Smith, 54, of Newburgh, New York; James G. Lovell, 58, of Cold Spring, New York; James M. Ferrari, 59, of Montrose, New York; and Ahn Kisook, 35, of Queens, New York.

Lovell did freelance audio and was headed into New York to work Sunday morning, said Dave Merandy, a town council member in the Hudson Valley community of Philipstown.
"He loved his family and did what was necessary to keep things afloat with his family. He was a great man," Merandy said.

At least 67 people were injured, Bruno said. One suffered a spinal cord injury that could leave him paralyzed from the neck down, said Dr. David Listman, director of the emergency department at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

Five off-duty New York Police Department officers were on the train, an agency spokesman said. Three were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries, the spokesman said, and two refused medical attention.

The Metro-North Hudson Line had a ridership of 15.9 million last year, with hundreds of people on packed trains during weekday rush hour, officials said.

The governor advised Monday morning drivers in the area to plan for a long commute or use the Harlem Line, which runs roughly parallel to the damaged Hudson Line.

On Sunday, service was suspended on part of the Hudson Line and won't resume until the NTSB finishes documenting the scene and returns the track to the MTA for repairs, Cuomo said.

Officials hope to get train service on the line up and running again by the end of the week, he said.
Weener said the NTSB hopes to interview the conductor and the engineer either Monday or Tuesday.

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