Troubled NY Commuter Railroad to Install Safety Cameras

Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 08:40 PM

By Jason Devaney

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In the wake of several crashes — including one that killed four people — service disruptions, and a scathing federal report about safety problems, the commuter railroad that connects New York City with its northern suburbs has vowed to install video and audio recorders in its trains.

A Metro-North Railroad derailment in December killed four people and injured dozens, while another derailment last May resulted in that train being struck by a passing one. Sixty people were hurt in that accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended in a report last week that the railroad beef up its safety.

This comes in the wake of what Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti had to say last week regarding safety on the train line before he took over as president in January.

"Safety was not the top priority — it must be and it will be," Giulietti said,  The Wall Street Journal reported. "Safety must come first at Metro-North. I will not allow any Metro-North trains to run unless I'm confident that they will run safely."

The railroad's parent agency, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), is seeking proposals from companies to install inward- and outward-facing cameras, along with audio recording equipment, in Metro-North trains as well as trains operated by the authority's Long Island Rail Road. They would assist investigators looking into crashes and other incidents and also serve as a deterrent, the MTA said.

"I want to see acts and not just plans and dates certain by when it will be implemented," Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told CBS New York.

Connecticut state Sen. Toni Boucher told the Stamford Advocate that the new focus on safety should have come a long time ago.

"I'm happy that they are doing it but it makes you wonder if they had had a culture promoting safety, this might have been done in advance," said Boucher, who serves on the state’s Transportation Committee. "There might have been other improvements in place that would have prevented the derailments and dozens of people injured."

Giulietti took the transportation company’s reins from Howard Permut, who retired in January after five years in the job.  Giulietti was a Metro-North executive for 15 years before moving to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, where he spent 14-plus years before returning to take the Metro-North job.

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