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Feds Begin 60-Day Safety Review Of Metro-North

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The Federal Railroad Administration on Monday began a 60-day review that will cover a broad range of practices at Metro-North, including fatigue management, oversight of engineers, and medical requirements for crew members. NY1's Kristen Shaughnessy filed the following report.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials say the derailment that killed four people and injured dozens more on December 1 shook the agency to its core.

"The loss of life and the injuries to our customers and fellow employees has deeply affected everyone who works at this railroad. I ask that you please join me in a moment of silence to remember the deceased, the families and all those who were injured," said Metro-North Railroad Committee Chair James Sedore.

MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast says the agency is not waiting for recommendations from the Federal Railroad Administration or other agencies before making safety improvements. He says he has done a lot of soul searching since the derailment.

"I do not want to look at this incident in any other way than the human impact," Prendergast said.

Signal modifications and other safety measures have already been put in place at the curve just before the Spuyten Duyvil station where the train derailed.

Modifications will be made at four other critical curves by March.

The National Transportation Safety Board found train operator William Rockefeller was traveling nearly three times the speed limit going into a sharp turn.

His union says he may have temporarily lost focus at the controls.

The derailment marked the first time a passenger was killed in a Metro-North accident and came during a particularly bad year for Metro North. A worker was killed on the job in Connecticut earlier this year. There have also been two other derailments, including a freight train that derailed on the railroad's Hudson Line in July.

On Monday, the Federal Railroad Agency began a 60-day review of Metro-North's policies, procedures and workflow.

"It needs to be done definitely. I'm nervous. I don't have a lot of faith in the railroad," said one Metro-North rider.

"I've been riding this railroad for 40 years. I've never felt unsafe," said another Metro-North rider.

Some of the safety modifications that have already been made were done so quickly and easily that many wonder why they were not already in place before the derailment.

The Railway Administration will issue its recommendations once its review is done and says it hopes that will restore riders confidence.

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