Saying, “Riders have lost their patience with this railroad and so have I,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal has requested 10 years of Metro-North safety-inspection and enforcement records from the Federal Railway Administration.
In a letter dated Feb. 12 to Joseph C. Szabo, FRA administrator, Blumenthal said, “Recent incidents involving Metro-North clearly show the need for a renewed focus on safety and reliability. Although causes must be determined, Metro-North must confront questions about adequacy of equipment, tracks and maintenance and repair practices.”
The Connecticut Democrat praised the railway agency for embarking on “Operation Deep Dive,” initially billed as a 60-day investigation of Metro-North issues after a derailment in the Bronx killed four and injured 63 Dec. 1.
But the agency’s self-imposed 60-day deadline has passed, and an agency spokesman said Friday that it would be “several weeks” before the results of the investigation would be made public.
“In the meantime I am requesting the FRA to provide my office with all Metro-North inspection reports, safety evaluations and other relevant safety documentation, including enforcement reports and actions from the past ten years,” Blumenthal wrote in his letter to Szabo.
Hearst Newspapers filed a Freedom of Information Act request for exactly the same documents on Dec. 4 of last year. To date, the agency still has not provided Hearst with even an estimate of when they will make the public records available.
“The public deserves to know Metro-North’s safety history,” Blumenthal wrote.