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Blumenthal Issues Statement On NTSB Report Identifying Causes Of Major Metro-North Derailments, Fatalities

(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement regarding a new report today by the National Transportation Safety Board releasing the probable causes of the five major accidents involving Metro-North Railroad between May 2013 and March 2014.

“This report shows in new depth and detail a railroad in disarray, equipment in disrepair and a safety agency in a sleep-like daze. Inspections were missed, and warning signs were disregarded again and again and again. The report is a powerful indictment of the FRA’s lack of oversight and the safety failures at MTA and Metro-North. The painful, shameful truth is that Robert Luden would be alive today if the FRA had been doing its job," Blumenthal said. "The FRA has failed to implement 63 NTSB safety recommendations.  We must assure that safety and reliability standards receive real enforcement, not just lip service, which is why Senator Schumer and I have authored major, comprehensive legislation to help restore rigorous public oversight and scrutiny, and rebuild public trust and confidence. Commuters and communities demand safety and reliability, as well as on-time performance. This bill lays the groundwork for life-saving investments in important technology like Positive Train Control (PTC) and other upgrades that are proven to save lives and enhance service. They must be followed by other investments that hopefully will gain bipartisan support, because they benefit our economy and all Americans."

The report identifies the factual information and causes of the five major Metro-North incidents over the past 18 months, including the Bridgeport derailment, the death of worker Robert Luden near the West Haven rail station, the derailment of a CSX freight train, the fatal derailment at Spuyten Duyvil, and the death of Metro-North electrician James Romansoff while working on an elevated track in Harlem.

Blumenthal has introduced comprehensive legislation to overhaul rail safety laws and protocols to enforce and enhance safety and reliability following the series of high profile rail catastrophes detailed in this latest NTSB report, as well as other rail disasters nationwide that have undermined public trust in rail infrastructure, safety protocols, management and oversight.