The Federal Railroad Association issued an emergency order to Metro-North Railroad today, telling the rail company it must place two operators at the helm of trains traveling routes with major speed limits. The order comes days after a train traveling at 82 mph — more than 50 miles above the speed limit — derailed on a sharp curve, killing four and injuring more than 70 passengers. That train's conductor says he may have "zoned out" before the fatal crash, applying the brakes too late.
The Feds said the emergency order is a temporary measure to ensure safety until the Metro-North is able to permanently upgrade its regular procedures.
The New York Times has details on the directive:
The order calls on Metro-North to provide the railroad administration with a list of main track locations with a maximum speed reduction of more than 20 miles per hour. The railroad is to identify “appropriate modifications to its existing automatic train control system or other signal systems to enable adequate advance warning of and adherence to such speed restrictions,” the administration said.
CBS reports that the first lawsuits were filed yesterday by survivors who say the derailment was preventable. The crash fatalities are unprecedented for Metro-North, which started in 1983, though it has maintained a poor safety record of late. The accident has led to calls for all railroads to install state-of-the-art (but expensive) safety systems that currently exist, but most companies lack.