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Federal Officals Announce Thorough Analysis of Metro-North

J.P. Chan

Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation is applauding Thursday’s announcement by the Federal Railroad Administration that it’s conducting an analysis of every aspect of the Metro-North Commuter Railroad. 

In a joint statement, the state’s legislators said they expect changes to be made based on the safety assessment, and will hold people’s feet to the fire to ensure that they are. The review is called Operation Deep Dive, and will take 60 days.

It’s a response to a series of accidents on Metro-North this year. On December 1, a train on the Hudson line derailed in The Bronx, killing four people and injuring more than 60 people. In September, a power failure disrupted travel on the New Haven Line for nearly two weeks. Back in May, two commuter trains collided outside of Bridgeport, injuring more than 70 people. Just weeks later, a track foreman was killed by a train near West Haven.

The FRA will assess track and signal maintenance, protection for workers, and engineer and conductor certification, among other areas. Once the review is complete, it will issue a report with findings and recommendations. Here's a list of what the review will entail:

  • 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.

Meanwhile, next year will bring higher ticket prices on Metro-North’s New Haven Line. Starting January 1, travelers will see a five percent fare hike, the final part of a three-year increase.

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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