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MTA Announces Safety Fixes for Metro-North After Fatal Crash

By Aidan Gardiner | December 9, 2013 8:39am
 The MTA put new speed restrictions in place after a fatal crash in The Bronx.
MTA Makes Safety Improvements
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NEW YORK CITY — Crews are installing equipment to slow speeding trains as they come into the Bronx curve where a Metro-North train derailed Dec. 1 and killed 4 people, the MTA announced Sunday as part of a slew of safety improvements.

The fixes, which come at the request of federal regulators, also include new signal protections, additional speed limits and two-person crews to verbally confirm speeds when approaching potentially hazardous areas like the Spuyten Duyvil curve, the MTA said.

Some of the improvements were already in place Monday. The MTA hopes they will relieve commuters who were still rattled by the accident, thought to have occurred when a driver dozed off at the controls and sped up to 82 mph.

"Metro-North is taking important steps to improve safety for its customers and employees, and I expect the railroad will continue searching for ways to improve its operations and fully restore its commuters' confidence," said MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast.

The Spuyten Duyvil improvements will notify train engineers that they should slow down and, if they're still traveling at more than 30 mph, automatically apply the brakes, the MTA said.

By Tuesday, Metro-North trains will start using the two-person teams at five "critical curves" and five movable bridges, the MTA said.

Conductors will stand beside engineers and verbally confirm that speed limits are being followed, though if the train's cab area is too small they will communicate by radio, the MTA said.

The transit agency hopes to implement automatic speed restrictions at the critical curves by March and moveable bridges by September.

Speed limits will also be posted at 26 areas where the limit dropped more than 20 mph and the MTA plans to beef up speed enforcement.