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After Deadly Derailment, Metro-North Rolls Out New Safety Measures

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In an effort to restore rider confidence and beef up safety, Metro-North is implementing a number of new protocols for its train conductors and engineers.

The focus is on improved communication and having two sets of eyes on tricky sections of tracks. And it turns out many of those sections are on the New Haven Line.

These new rules come after four people were killed when a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx, N.Y. more than a week ago. That train was going almost three times the speed limit as it entered a dangerous curve. The train’s engineer has taken responsibility for the crash.

Now the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metro-North are implementing new rules to improve safety at critical curves and moveable bridges along the rails. Starting today, conductors will stand with engineers at the control cab as the train moves through those curves. If for some reason they can’t stand together, they will communicate by radio. The two will also communicate by radio at moveable bridges, all five of which are on the New Haven Line.

Additionally, Metro-North engineers are still developing new protections to automatically brake at four critical curves. Two of those curves are on the New Haven Line, one in Bridgeport, the other at Port Chester, N.Y. That type of protection will be in place by March. Metro-North riders hope these changes are a step in the right direction.

“That’s a good thing that’s happening,” said Phil Santore, a commuter from Seymour. “You would think that there’s an ongoing maintenance study going on behind the scenes, but you definitely like to hear that there are more things happening. Unfortunately nothing gets fixed until something happens. Not much forethought, not much prevention, people usually wait and fund it until after the fact.”

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