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Blumenthal Statement on Valhalla Train Crash Investigation

(Hartford, CT)—Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal released the following statement after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) voted to accept the findings and recommendations of the investigation into the 2015 train crash in Valhalla, New York that claimed the lives of six people—including a man from Danbury, Connecticut.

“Today’s report confirms what we knew since day one—this grade crossing was a deadly disaster waiting to happen. While aspects of this tragedy may be unique, the tragic truth is that hundreds of lives are lost each year in grade crossing collisions due to poor design and inadequate education. That is why I will reintroduce legislation this year to finally bring grade crossings into the 21st century through better education, enforcement and engineering. Today’s findings also underscore the urgent need to address catastrophic risks posed when third rail is present at grade crossings. Metro-North must take immediate action to eliminate that glaring hazard to ensure the chaos and carnage we saw in 2015 can never be repeated.”

Following the Valhalla crash, Blumenthal introduced the Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act of 2015 which would provide new resources to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), states and communities to make critical engineering and safety upgrades at rail crossings, like installing new lights and signals, particularly at accident-prone crossings.