Train derailment latest in string of problems for Metro-North this year

Metro-North employees work to get a freight train back on the tracks between the Marble Hill and Spuyten Duyvil stations in New York Friday morning, July 19, 2013, after the train hauling garbage derailed the previous night. AP Photo / Marc Glucksman

Sunday’s deadly train derailment is one of a series of safety issues for the Metro-North Railroad just this year — including a train derailment less than six months earlier along the same stretch of track.

Emergency personnel work at the scene where two Metro North commuter trains collided, Friday, May 17, 2013 near Fairfield, Conn. Connecticut Post / Christian Abraham
  • On Sept. 25, a power cable failed during the morning rush hour, suspending service completely from New Haven, Conn. to New York City for an hour and a half. Service during the evening rush could only accommodate 10 percent of the regular riders. Train service was not fully restored on the line until almost two weeks later.
  • On July 18, a freight train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station — close to the spot of Sunday’s derailment. No one was injured, but service from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan was delayed for ten days, since only one track was operational.
  • On May 28, track worker, Robert Luden, 52, was struck dead by a Metro-North train in West Haven, Connecticut. An NTSB investigation said that he had requested the track be taken out of service during construction, but a student traffic controller allowed service into the section to resume too soon.
  • On May 18, an eastbound train in Fairfield Connecticut derailed and struck a westbound train. The area where the accident happened was reduced to two tracks for construction before the crash. Seventy-two people were injured.

In early November, the NTSB recommended that Metro-North use "redundant protection" such as a procedure in which crews attach a device to the rail in a construction area that alerts the dispatcher to inform approaching trains conductors to stop, according to NBC Connecticut.

Metro-North Chief Engineer Robert Puciloski responded by saying that Metro-North is "behind in several areas" of maintenance for resurfacing and replacing railroad ties. 

"The railroad already has begun working on a technological solution beyond the current system of verbal confirmations. It will require mechanical input from the roadway worker to implement and relinquish all blocks. The details of this method are being developed,” Metro-North officials said in a statement at the time. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report


4 dead, over 60 injured as NY commuter train derails