The MTA is making headway in a series of upgrades to Metro-North: Today, the State Department of Transportation announced the completion of a project designed to regulate train speed and the installation of a new monitoring system for freight trains traveling on the New Haven and Hudson lines.
According to the DOT, the newly completed signal modifications alert train engineers of upcoming speed restrictions at five curves and five bridges in Connecticut and New York. If speed isn’t reduced, trains will stop automatically.
The Federal Railroad Administration ordered the upgrades after a fatal derailment at Spuyten Duyvil outside the Bronx over the summer.
Signal modifications were installed at curves located in Spuyten Duyvil, Yonkers, White Plains, Bridgeport and Port Chester and bridges on the New Haven Line in Cos Cob, South Norwalk, Westport, Bridgeport and Milford.
The project was completed more than five months ahead of its Sept. 1 deadline, according to the DOT.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, issued the following statement Monday:
"I'm pleased that this critical safety measure – a modest milestone – has been achieved. It is long overdue. Had these signal upgrades been implemented before December 1, 2013, four people might well be alive today – and the horrific crash at Spuyton [sic] Duyvil been averted. I'm especially glad that Connecticut sites like the Devon Bridge have been addressed, but Metro North needs to disclose any additional locations that raise similar risks. The riding public has good reason to ask about timelines and deadlines for achieving other safety measures like alerters, and cameras."
The DOT also announced today that the MTA will install monitoring systems for freight trains using the Metro-North New Haven and Hudson lines and the Long Island Railroad.
The three-part Train Fault Detector System includes a wheel impact detector that will recognize wheel defects, a “hot box” detector to monitor roller bearings and axles and a tag reader to identify individual freight cars, according to a release from the DOT.
When problems are detected, the system will send real-time alerts to the trains’ control centers.
“This specialized equipment will improve safety and reduce wear and tear on our tracks,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast, in a statement. “They are intended to identify faults before they cause problems.”
Monitoring equipment would be installed near Green’s Farm Station on the New Haven Line and Scarborough on the Hudson Line.
The plan will go to the MTA Board for approval today.