Blumenthal Statement On NTSB Recommendation To Revise Track Safety Standards For Commuter Railroads

NTSB Recommended To FRA, Metro-North To Inspect Tracks One-By-One Instead Of Several At A Time

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) released the following statement after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Metro-North urging the agency and railroad to remove an exemption that lets busy commuter railroads inspect their tracks several at a time – instead of one at a time. NTSB’s recommendations also urge FRA and Metro-North to proceed with future inspections as if the exemption doesn’t exist.

“All railroads, especially Metro-North, should implement this rule immediately because it will greatly enhance the quality and number of track inspections – improving safety and reliability. This rule strengthens the first line of defense against track defects – knowing about them, so they can be repaired, before they cause horrific derailments and crashes like Bridgeport.

“One year ago this past Saturday, a Metro-North train derailed in Bridgeport because of defects that were overlooked repeatedly during safety inspections. I urge Metro-North to immediately implement the NTSB’s recommendations, recommendations that are clearly directed at them and which I’ve called for in light of recent accidents in Connecticut and New York. Inspecting tracks one-by-one will decrease the likelihood that defects are overlooked and lives are lost. Connecticut commuters deserve a safe and reliable railroad, and these recommendations will help Metro-North improve in both of these areas.”

Blumenthal chairs the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security.