Another Metro North commuter train has derailed. This time, fortunately, there were no injuries reported, probably because the train was a work train with few people aboard. The train left the tracks at the Highbridge East rail yard in the Bronx, when a car filled with crushed rock left the track. The incident occurred shortly after midnight on Sunday, and it took workers about five hours to return the car to the rails. In addition to causing no injuries, the derailment did not affect passenger service.
This is a far cry from some previous Metro North train accidents. The worst was in December 2013, when a train entering the city from Poughkeepsie derailed at Sputyn Duyvil in the Bronx. Four people were killed and many dozens were injured when the driver entered a tight curve at more than 80 MPH. Another derailment last year, this one in May, injured 76 people when the train derailed near Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Metro North is not the only NYC-area railroad to experience derailments in recent months. The Staten Island Railway had two derailments so far this year. A NYC Transit train, the F train on the IND line, derailed in May, injuring 19 of the more than 1,000 passengers on board.
Coincidentally, the most recent train accident occurred close to the time when senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced the introduction of legislation that would require railroads to implement safety features and meet a federal 2015 deadline to install positive train control equipment on their trains. Positive train control technology would slow or stop a train if it goes over the speed limit for a particular section of track. Railroads across the U.S. have been seeking to have the deadline extended. The legislation also includes stiff penalties if a speeding train causes death or injury.
According to the article in the NY Post, the legislation to be introduced by the New York and Connecticut senators will improve the ability of the regulatory agency largely responsible for train safety, the FRA, to punish violators of safety laws and rules. it will also provide enhanced protection for whistleblowers who report safety violations by railroad operators.