NTSB Issues Urgent Safety Recommendations

By Stephanie O'Connell
|  Monday, Jun 17, 2013  |  Updated 9:22 PM EDT
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NTSB Issues Urgent Safety Recommendations

A track worker died after being hit by a train.

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The National Transportation Safety Board has issued urgent safety recommendations to Metro-North Railroad on the heels of a fatal accident last month.

On May 28th, a Metro-North track foreman was struck and killed by a passenger train that was traveling at 70 mph.

The foreman had requested the section of track be taken out of service for maintenance. Two controllers, one whom was a student controller, placed the take out of service.

The student controller reopened the track without approval, causing the fatal accident.

The NTSB is urging Metro North to require redundant signal protection. This would including shunting, a device that crews can attach to the rails in a work zone to alert the controller and give approaching trains a stop signal.

"The procedures currently in place are ineffective."  NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement. "Metro-North can take immediate action to ensure the safety of work crews on their tracks. Shunting tracks is simple, feasible and readily available."
 

Metro North quickly responded to the recommendations from the NTSB.

In a statement, Metro North said they would implement the safety improvements as quickly as possible.

"Safety is our first priority...In addition, the railroad already has begun working on a technological solution beyond the current system of verbal confirmations.  It will require mechanical input from the roadway worker to implement and relinquish all blocks. The details of this method are being developed," Metro North officials said in a statement.

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