Metro-North managed to rack up 139 safety violations over the past 10 years, while also incurring almost half a million dollars in fines.
“Per 100 miles of track, Metro-North had five times the number of safety defects than any other commuter railroad in the country,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who called the railroad’s safety record “truly shameful.” Sen. Blumenthal received the data from the Federal Railroad Administration, which oversees Metro-North.
In 2008 when the railroad administration conducted a random audit of Metro-North, violations spiked and the audit disclosed a large number of problems. 60 of the 139 violations were flaws in accident reporting; 27 involved passenger equipment safety standards; 14 of railroad operating practices; 11 involved alcohol and drug violations; 5 were track safety standards violations, and 3 were violations of roadway worker protection guidelines.
With the increased number of incidents Metro-North has seen over the recent years, including a railroad worker who was killed this past March on the tracks in Manhattan and the derailment in December that killed four passengers, it’s time to make a change. In March, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a major report on Metro-North, which found that the railroad has a “deficient safety culture.” The report said that Metro-North has prioritized on-time performance over safe operations and infrastructure maintenance.
“Metro-North Railroad continues to work every day to correct the safety issues raised by the recent tragic accidents and the subsequent Federal review,” said agency spokesman Aaron Donovan. “Our daily goal is to restore a robust culture of safety at Metro-North, and provide a high level of service quality and reliability that our customers can have confidence in,” Donovan said.
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