New Metro-North speed control measures this week after fatal Bronx crash

Derailment 120113In addition to instituting automatic baking at the site of last weekend’s deadly derailment at Spuyten Duyvil this weekend, Metro-North has adopted additional supervision and speed monitoring at other sharp curves and critical sections of track to prevent speeding on its three commuter rail lines.

On Friday, the Federal Railroad Administration issued an emergency order to Metro-North to put signal system changes into place that would enforce automatic braking in zones, and including interim measures  in areas where speed limits drop by more than 20 miles per hour to assure engineers slowed down more gradually from higher speeds to lower ones.

Last Sunday morning a commuter train originating in Poughkeepsie,N.Y. derailed at 82 miles per hour on a curve where the speed limit was 30 miles per hour killing four and injuring more than 60 others.

Beginning Tuesday morning until new signal protection to enforce speed reductions is developed for seven New haven Line locations—two “critical curves” at Port Chester,N.Y. and Bridgeport  and  five moveable bridges— where conductors will be required to keep tabs on the speed of engineers during runs through those areas.

The additional supervision will continue until Metro-North installs new signal controls for the four critical curves in March, and for the five moveable bridges by September, according to the railroad.

The order also impacts two other critical curves at Yonkers on the Hudson line and White Plains on the Harlem line.

The already existing speed limits across and approaching the New Haven Line’s five moveable bridges is 30 miles per hour,  Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said. The five moveable bridges are located at Cos Cob, South Norwalk, Saugatuck, Devon, and Bridgeport.

As part of the new scrutiny dictated under an agreement between the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Metro-North supervisors will also ride more trains to track speeds, conduct more audits of data recordings of random runs, and operating radar gun enforcement at critical locations.

Metro-North supervisors will also be making more incognito trips to check speeds, and other personnel will be conducting radar enforcement along stretches of track to identify speed violations, according to the railroad.

“The speed limits have been there a long time but the difference is the conductor has to remind the engineer there is a speed limit there,” Anders said.

The new restrictions will also include new enforceable lower speeds in 26 other locations throughout the network to assure that trains are not slowing down too rapidly , according to the railroad.

The changes were made as part of an agreement with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, according to the railroad.

“These actions, combined with investments in the infrastructure and a heightened focus on safety with all employees, are critical to ensure the confiden ce and trust of all the stakeholders of the Metro-North rail system,” Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Redeker said. “ It is our expectation that Metro-North will continue to make safety and reliability their primary focus and demonstrate this through regular and transparent actions and communications.”