U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement today in response to safety and training plans issued by Metro-North as mandated in the Federal Railroad Administration’s “Operation Deep Dive” report:
“The Deep Dive report was a searing indictment of sustained failings at Metro-North, detailing a shocking litany of safety lapses rooted in deeply deficient management. The response from Metro-North issued today appears to indicate an understanding on the part of Metro-North leadership that serious reforms in safety, training and organizational culture are needed to regain the trust of its customers. Where measures have already begun, including issuance of more realistic on-time performance expectations, safer speed controls and increased compliance checks, I welcome these important, however belated, first steps. However, there is substantial work still to be done, and I remain concerned that deadlines for serious infrastructure and technology improvements remain amorphous, including adoption of a close call reporting system, installation of alerters and cameras and positive train control systems. There is no excuse for further delay in the adoption and implementation of these life-saving measures. I will be meeting with President Giulietti and Chairman Prendergast tomorrow and will be prepared to ask tough questions to ensure the plans outlined here on paper translate into deep and sustained changes in the culture, operations and infrastructure of the railroad,” Blumenthal said.
In March, the FRA issued its Operation Deep Dive report into Metro-North’s operations, commissioned by Congress following the spate of major accidents at Metro-North over the past year. The report was a searing indictment of the leadership at Metro-North, revealing a culture that emphasized on-time performance to the detriment of safe operations and adequate maintenance of infrastructure. In its report, the FRA required Metro-North to provide plans to overhaul its safety department and training programs within 60 days.
In its response issued today, Metro-North indicated of the 27 actions detailed in the Deep Dive report, it had completed 14, is progressing on five, and for eight has developed a training strategy to be carried out immediately.
Metro-North is expected to meet additional safety benchmarks by June 11 in response to its own 100-Day Plan.
Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-3) will meet with Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast will meet tomorrow to discuss the recently issued safety and training plans. Blumenthal, Murphy, DeLauro, Giulietti and Prendergast will be available to speak to reporters at a press availability at New Haven’s Union Station at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, May 16.