One week after a train derailment killed four people in the Bronx, the push to make the rails safer continues. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
With the investigation into the deadly derailment at Spuyten Duyvil now focused on engineer William Rockefeller and his alertness, many officials are trying to find ways to prevent another crash. The latest idea: cameras inside the driver’s compartment of each train, facing inside and out.
“Inside to see what the engineer was doing, outside to see if tracks and signals were in good shape,” said Sen. Charles Schumer.
Schumer and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal pushed this idea at a press conference on Sunday. They say the National Transportation Safety Board actually recommended these types of cameras after a 2008 crash, but despite that recommendation, the Federal Railroad Administration never mandated them.
“Better late than never, should have done it five years ago, but they should do it now,” said Schumer.
Some Amtrak trains and the MetroLink in California have the cameras. The MTA says no Metro-North or LIRR trains have them.
Schumer and Blumenthal say it's a no brainer.
“This is really just a common sense measure that keeps people awake, and keeps passengers alive,” Schumer said.
And while some people are skeptical, commuters at Grand Central agree that cameras like these could be helpful.
“I think it might help with keeping accidents from happening and protecting the commuters,” said one commuter.
“They've got them everywhere else, watching you what you're doing,” said a second.
“If you put a camera in there and they're sleeping, what happens? I mean, what prompts them to wake up?” said a third.
Some changes have already been made. The FRA has given emergency instructions to the MTA and Metro-North to update its signal system to keep trains within speed limits, and until it does that, to have two operators working in the cab of trains that travel through speed restricted zones.
“There has to be a complete overhaul of safety procedures on Metro-North, a comprehensive soul searching and safety revamping of this railroad,” said Schumer.
For their part the MTA says they are considering a variety of ideas to improve safety.