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Westchester Congressman Joins Effort to Introduce Rail Safety Bill

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney Photo Credit: File photo

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- U.S Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Westchester), is joining Connecticut representatives looking to introduce legislation in hopes of making rail systems safer.

Maloney joined U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut in announcing new legislation that would affect Metro-North rail service. The group said, "Metro-North has been plagued by preventable safety issues, which caused incidents such as December's crash in the Bronx and last May's employee death in West Haven," according to a press release.

“Our national rail safety standards badly need an update,” said DeLauro, Himes, Esty and Maloney in a joint statement, according to the release. “Crashes and deaths should not be on people’s minds when they get on a train, yet that is what our constituents have to live with. Fatigue in the railroad industry continues to be a significant factor in railroad accidents. Our common-sense legislation would help move us in a safer direction.”

The legislation would attempt the following three steps, according to the release:

  • Require the Federal Railroad Administration to require railroads to implement a railroad safety risk reduction program. This was required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
  • Repeal the grandfathering of “alerters,” the safety system that sounds an alarm when an engineer remains idle while the train is in motion. Metro-North is one of the only railroad systems that do not have “alerters” in their control cabs. If Metro-North had “alerters,” the Bronx derailment and the death of Robert Luden would have been prevented.
  • Require a timeline for implementing Positive Train Control, which prevents two trains traveling on a single track from colliding with one another. The National Transportation Safety Board has identified this as a way to prevent accidents caused by train operator or dispatcher error. The NTSB suggested this back in 1969, and implementation is required to be finished by Dec. 31, 2015.

Maloney represents District 18, which includes northeastern Westchester as well as all of Putnam and Orange counties and parts of southern Dutchess County.

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