Thursday, December 18, 2014

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The Call Blog: Questions Surround Fatal Metro-North Derailment

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Mayor Bloomberg didn't want to come back from Bermuda. And then he didn't want to own his decision. Bloomberg flew back late, and after visiting patients in a hospital said, "What can I do? I’m not a professional firefighter or a police officer. There’s nothing I can do." So then why did you go to the hospital? Are you a doctor?

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are analyzing two data recorders retrieved from the wreckage of the Metro-North train derailment in the Bronx. Two cranes at the scene righted all of the damaged cars earlier today. Four passengers were killed and more than 60 people were injured when the train went off the rails on the Hudson Line.

Governor Cuomo said today possible factors range from excessive speed, to equipment or operator failure, to a track problem. The NTSB is expected to spend up to 10 days at the scene on the Bronx-Manhattan border. Thousands of commuters used shuttle buses and the subway to get to work this morning. Sunday's derailment is the third of a Metro-North train this year.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg is facing criticism for not going to the scene yesterday. City Hall is refusing to say why, but the Wall Street Journal is reporting Bloomberg was "playing golf Sunday at Bermuda’s majestic Mid Ocean golf club" for hours after the derailment. The Mayor did visit a hospital last night and said, "What can I do? I’m not a professional firefighter or a police officer. There’s nothing I can do." What do you say?

What's your reaction to yesterday's derailment? What questions do you want answered during this investigation? Was your commute affected today? Should Mayor Bloomberg have responded to the scene yesterday?

Send your thoughts using the link above.


There is too much SPEED everywhere! From SUVs that lose control and kill bystanders on sidewalks, to city employees being killed by out-of-control trucks, bike riders who don't follow the rules of the road, cab drivers who think they're beyond the law, and now this. Every time you see a news story, it seems to be always about SPEED. What is the rush? Too many people are killed or permanently maimed over the need for someone to get to a certain place two minutes faster than they would get there if they kept to the speed limit or FOLLOWED THE LAW!

As far as the "mayor" goes, he's already a lame duck and since it didn't happen in his Manhattan, then it doesn't matter to him. Go back to Bermuda, Mr. B!

~ Dina and Ed - Throggs Neck

Now that Bloomberg is leaving his true colors show. Good riddens....

Midtown East


Bloomberg is right, he's not a professional at anything, including being Mayor. He appears at almost every event affecting public safety. Why not this one? And where was de Blasio?

Port Richmond, SI

Mayor Bloomberg is already starting to fade into history, and he's probably begun laughing at the public that expects him to continue acting the role of mayor all day long on each of his final 31 days on the job -- he never liked most aspects of the public side of the job, anyway.

As to Metro-North, I've always thought it a slipshod operation when compared to the Long Island Railroad, which has done a much better job of track upgrade and maintenance over the years. I do believe, also, that something suggested by one of the people investigating this accident should be looked at more closely -- the track layout and geometry of that entire stretch of the line; it dates back a century, and perhaps it is time for some modification, a matter that the New York City subways may also want to start thinking about as the trains themselves evolve and traffic only ever increases.

Upper West Side

82 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone would be a possible ingredient towards the accident. Train dispatch should have seen the rise in speed on their computer boards and should have reached out to the train crew. Posted speed limits should have devices such as brake t- pet cocks that stay in a vertical position until the train adheres to the speed limit, if the speed limit is not followed the train strikes the t- pet cock and applies the train into full emergency brake.


Hi John

First i would like to say to the families that lost love ones god bless u may your loved ones RIP. Mayor Bloomberg should of rushed back to the crime scene to look over the work that the first responders were doing, he's still the mayor, this was worse than the blizzard that crippled the city. I know the motormen and women that drive the city do know they cant go over the speed limit when on a curve either the motorman was on the phone or he was on drugs, this reminds me of the crash in Spain.

The motorman should be charged with murder for killing those people, you cant do 82 in a 30 mph zone especially around a curve.

Upper West side

I really think you should cover this story on The Call -- especially with regard to Bloomy the "No Show" and his egregious tweet... call 911 (really??). This horrific accident took place in the Bronx, which if I recall, is still one of NYC's 5 boroughs. Meanwhile Bloomy claims that he doesn't want to interfere with Gov. Cuomo because the MTA is a state-run agency -- a totally lame and bogus excuse, if I ever heard one.

Gretchen (UWS)

The derailment of a Metro North train in the Bronx was a horrible tragedy. With 4 passengers dead,63 injured,and 11 of those injuries being critical, this was very bad. If this had occurred on a regular workday,the train would have been much more crowded,and the death and injury toll would have been much higher.How did this occur? Was the train going at a high rate of speed as it approached that very sharp curve? These are questions that will have to be answered in the days and weeks to come. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who were killed and injured,as well as those who were injured in this horrific train wreck. Also, gratitude to all of those first responders, fire,police,EMTs and other medical personnel who immediately converged on the scene to launch rescue efforts and tend to the dead and injured.New York has the best first responders in the country. We owe them a real debt of gratitude for their bravery and their service.

Fresh Meadows, NY

Hi John,

The better question is what can we do about you Bloomberg? You have a nasty, uninterested and uncaring answer all the time. You just do as you please. As soon as I heard about it early in the morning I noticed that no one other than Kelly and Cuomo were there even after it happened and I’m not complaining about them. Sal Casano and OEM. [BY THE WAY WHERE WAS THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK?]

No one was around at all just as it happened a few years back with the snow storm. So all these people wanted the third term to serve us even if we want to call it that. But since it’s coming to an end of their reign they just make up their own rules as far as serving us the public. We wait years and years for repairs of all kinds, traffic lights, garbage in filthy lots, pot holes, poop all over the place. But they all know how to spend their funds allotted to them for the same people and in the same areas year after year.

Thank you John,


Mayor Bloomberg could care less. He 12 year run is over so there is no point. He's rich. Golf comes before anything else

Jamaica, NY

Nobody needs the Mayor to be at the scene of disasters (or anywhere else in Bloomberg's case), but we especially don't need his churlish and irritable attitude when the subject is broached to him. He forgets he is a public servant, not a king.

East Village


It is such a terrible tragedy that occurred yesterday. Being a commuter and have taken Metro North numerous times over the years I am stunned something like this would occur in this day and age.

My question is why was the motor man speeding? Common sense in riding a train or bus is these operators need to slow down and put the customer first. We put our lives in their hands everyday. I take a bus everyday from Staten Island and right now I dont feel safe because some of the bus drivers I encounter do speed.

Paula from Staten Island

How can councilmen Koppel blame the engineer without all the facts It is irresponsible and as far as mayor Bloomberg is concerned . If he was in the area he should have been their if not his representatives should have been there.

Sal from SI

Maybe you can explain what others can not. So far all I keep hearing about is "Where is Bloomy?" Are you that naive? Why would he care - especially now? YOU should be asking where the Mayor-elect was? that's more pertinent and another thing! Why arent your cameras in front of the those that represent the comuters? stop pandering to schumer. there are groups that represent the riding public...lets hear what they have to say and lets hear from the hiding board members there are they? who cares about schumer?


Let's wait for the NTSB to finish their investigation. Everyone is jumping to conclusions. Mechanical or human error? Let the agencies do their job and render their findings.

Forest Hills

Why is the media trying to turn Politicians into ambulance chasers? Let the first responders do their jobs and the politicians do theirs. Bloomberg couldn't have helped by being on site, and doesn't need to "look good" by running to every incident.


Although it might seem like the mayor should have been there, I agree with his decision. He deferred to the governor, who was already there, along with many necessary people. He and his entourage would have been superfluous, and possibly in the way. He went, wisely, to the hospital instead.

Shelley, Park Slope

The Mayor not showing for something that has to do with regular people should be no shock. If it had something to do with Billion airs he would have been there right away.

Joe from Bayside

First responders and Cuomo were fine as it was--doing their job. Why come down on Bloomberg just because because he was in Bermuda? Why do people make such a big deal out of this type of thing? Some politicians would show up just to have TV face time. Bloomberg isn't like that and it doesn't bother me.


Bloomberg as mayor did not act responsibly. By his logic Giuliani didn't need to be present during 9/11. If the city burned would he be playing golf or his fiddle? I hope he continues to play golf for the next month.

Leon from the East Village

1. If, as he claims, it doesn't matter where he is and he can do his job from anywhere, then why doesn't he either a) shut up and do his job or, b) if he insists on tweeting from out there, why doesn't he say where he is (is it too much to ask for a dateline)?

2. When he came back, he said outside St. Barnabas that he wasn't at the scene because he wasn't a firefighter or cop. He also isn't a doctor or a nurse, so why was he interrupting people's work and patients' recovery?

3. It was very funny watching him "update" the press outside St. B. because, as your own Cheryl Wills and Josh Robin said, he was trying to tell reporters things they'd known for hours.

Ellie - Turtle Bay

I think that Mayor Bloomberg had no responsibility to be on the scene to talk with reporters yesterday after the train wreck in the Bronx. The necessary work was done by first responders; the investigation of causes is being done by the NTSB and other appropriate agencies. Bloomberg’s job is to choose good department heads and set policy, not to grandstand after an accident. I haven’t liked everything that he has done as mayor, but he seems on the whole to be very competent. He is entitled to take time off and not be here 24/7.

--John B., visitor to Manhattan from Great Barrington, Mass., who has used MTA trains on the Harlem line to get here.


Regardless of where Bloomberg was, I am most disappointed that our mayor elect did not show up. Huge mistake in my book. Here was a perfect opportunity for him to take the lead and he blew it. They are all the same!!


This train disaster joins the ranks of the giant snow storm and the Sandy Marathon embarassment as just another example of how this billionaire mayor doesn't care about people. Good Riddance!!

Mario from Chelsea

NY1 broadcast the news that Mayor Bloomberg was still on the golf links in Bermuda SIX HOURS after the train crash. No, he would prove nothing by making a press appearance at the train tracks. Yes, he would have exhibited compassion for citizens of the city he governs by sharing our feelings of being heartsick over those lost and harmed in this accident. That lack of compassion demonstrates indifference to us, which is chilling.


Should Mayor Bloomberg have been present at the rail tragedy yesterday? He shouldn't even be in his third and illegal term.

--Chris in Astoria

Hi John,

There was no need for Mayor Bloomberg to be at the site...all city and state agencies had it under control. Govenor Cuomo definitely had to be there....he's up for re-election in the very near future.


Bloomberg not appearing at the crash site yesterday had the same effect as someone who checks out on the job after giving their two-weeks notice -- he just doesn't care anymore. Had his term not been up at the end of the this year, one has to assume he would have responded differently.

Upper East Side

Come on. Let's be realistic. What would Bloomberg or DeBlasio do if they were there? Pose for pictures and or give a speech. What do you want either of them to do? Ask yourselves that before deciding if they should be at a disaster scene or not.

Mike from Morningside

Clearly Bloomberg has checked out. Sure he should have been there, but he only has a few weeks left in office, and the mayor has no jurisdiction over the MTA.

Similarly, it would have been pre-mature for De Blasio to come to the accident scene. His statement was the appropriate response.

I'm just glad the Bloomberg years are over! However Cuomo must do more about MTA oversight. We are spending too much; our safety is paramount!

Rosedale, Queens

The train was going 82 miles an hour. This is on flat ground. If it was going that fast it isn't because the brakes were not working but because the engineer accelerated. That's just common sense.

Oliver Koppell
City council member

Where were the 2 most important commissioners? Did anyone see the NYS or NYC DOT Commish?




I guess I'm the only one that heard the government warning shortly after 9/11 that tampering with the rails was tactic terrorists use to reak havoc on civilized societies. I'm not saying it was a terrorist attack, but it is strange how many train derailments we've had in the last year or so. Never had this problem so frequently before. Now.....

Upper East side

As the initial shock and horror turned into disbelief, it was embarrassing to hear reporters ask the same questions over and over and get the same answer from the political people and Ray Kelly "I/we don't know."

We did not need to have Mayor Bloomberg there to repeat the phrase yet one more time.


This was in your house, Mayor Bloomberg...a tragedy on a quiet Sunday morning at the end of America's holiday for all.

I understand if you couldn't arrive there immediately; but, why didn't you convey
a message of acknowledgement as well as concern for the people of the city
you claim to love?

New York is a city of people, first and always. Many were hurt and we are all grieving.

Upper West Side

My name is is luis from bushwick brooklyn.

i want to say that as a public offical as Governor & Mayor of nyc that at times of emergencys that their presence is always required to assure the public citizens of nyc particually residents of the bronx.. I bet $100 that if this accident happend in any other state that their Mayor of their city would of been their- SMH !!

No train should be traveling south at 70miles an hour towards Spuyten Duyvil. The entire stretch of track between Riverdale Station and Spuyten Duyvil should be reduced to 30 miles per hour, until they have cleared Riverdale Station on the north and Spuyten Duyvil Station on the south.


So Bloomberg is out of town on a holiday weekend. He gets back to town and goes visit the wounded at the hospital. And all you do is complain. OMG! I'm not a big fan of bloomberg, but you guys are so biased it's ridiculous.

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