Home Asides At least 60 injured in Metro-North derailment/collision accident in Connecticut

At least 60 injured in Metro-North derailment/collision accident in Connecticut

by Benjamin Kabak

In the first major accident in 25 years, two Metro-North trains collided on the tracks in Connecticut. The two trains crashed at around 6 p.m. on Friday evening, and although 60 people were injured, no deaths have been reported yet. Service on Metro-North has been suspended between South Norwalk and New Haven, and Amtrak trains are not running between New York and Boston.

According to a statement just released by the MTA, the 4:41 p.m. from Grand Central New Haven derailed near the I-95 overpass in Bridgeport, and the 5:30 from New Haven struck the derailed train. As yet, no official cause of the derailment has been ascertained, and investigations are ongoing. A few minutes ago, the National Transportation Safety Board announced via Twitter a Go-Team to head up its investigation, and MTA Police, local police, Connecticut Office of Emergency Management, the Federal Railroad Administration and the FBI are on the scene as well.

To make matters worse, although this is an area with four tracks, two of the tracks are out of service for catenary work, and the remaining two tracks were badly damaged by the collisions. The trains cannot be moved until the on-scene investigation is over, and normal service will not resume until the infrastructure has been repaired. It may yet be a while, and I’ll have more as the story unfolds.

N.B. If you’re looking for the weekend service advisories, scroll down or click here.

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Alon Levy May 18, 2013 - 1:13 am

I’m afraid to think of what harebrained safety improvement the NTSB is going to recommend to prevent this from happening again. It’s probably not going to be “maintain your track adequately.” Is it going to be more buff strength? Corner posts? Guard rails? Slow restrictions? It’s anyone’s guess.

John-2 May 18, 2013 - 4:11 am

If it turns out the derailment is connected to the bridge overpass work, I’d imagine the NYSB will look at slow restrictions/increased construction zone inspections in work zone areas. The cars themselves, with (as of now) zero fatalities, held up about as well as could be expected, though the MTA may have to tack four or so additional railcars onto the final M-8 order following the collision.

Chris C May 18, 2013 - 8:10 am

How about waiting to find out what actually caused the derailment before making harebrained comments on what the NTSB might recommend (or not)?

Hope the injured recover quickly

Alon Levy May 18, 2013 - 10:10 am

How about not giving the benefit of the doubt to an agency that invariably tries to overregulate trains even in collisions with cars in which the cars were at fault?

Chris C May 18, 2013 - 11:45 am

As I have already said how about waiting to find out what the actual cause of the incident is and then looking to see what, if any, changes to regulations, maintenance, inspection etc may need to be made.

Alon Levy May 18, 2013 - 12:44 pm

This is the recent record of the agency involved.

At the FRA, things appear to be improving regarding speed on curves and possibly also buff strength repeal. At the NTSB, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Corey Best May 18, 2013 - 11:52 am

How about not jumping on the bandwagon and showing some respect….this is leaning towards track neglect at least from what some Engineers have told me… That area and several spots on the NHL are bad…. To say the Govt will add more regs is jumping the gun which you seem to be doing lately…. You went after Amtrak and the New locos the other day…and NJT a few weeks ago.. It comes off as rude and ignorant….and someone who has a very large ego… And quite frankly you’re losing points in the blogging and forum community when you make these comments. My opinion of you sliding faster and faster each time you make a comment like this…

BenW May 18, 2013 - 2:20 pm

I think the word you’re looking for is “shrill.”

Alon Levy May 18, 2013 - 2:34 pm

He’s just pissed that he got smacked hard about a bunch of things on SkyscraperPage, including in the thread about the Amtrak rolling stock order.

Chris C May 21, 2013 - 5:08 am

Hope that comment is not addressed as me because I’ve never even heard of ‘SkyscraperPage’ let alone posted on it

Alon Levy May 22, 2013 - 3:55 am

It’s not; it’s addressed to Corey.

Bolwerk May 19, 2013 - 3:59 am

Yes, it’s vitally important we ignore the NTSB’s history and culture and not say anything critical about it…why? I get that prior results don’t guarantee future results, but still, Alon’s right that this is an agency that has a history of being stupid.

Andre L. May 18, 2013 - 5:24 pm

I don’t get this grudge against NTSB. It has an excellent record of investigating properly major transportation accidents and, alone, it is responsible for having saved more people from preventable air crashed than any other agency or institution in the World.

Just as an example, the NTSB was, back on the late 1970s, the first agency to seriously question the role of the rigid cockpit hierarchy on causing accidents by inaction of co-pilots. It also introduced the concept of a “culture of unsafe operations” beyond the individual blame-game.

The NTSB only make recommendations, it has no power of regulatory action. Actually this is one of the great things about NTSB: since it has no teeth to impose regulations, it is relatively protected from interests that might play into drafting any new regulations.

I second those who want to see the report first.

In any case, the whole business of ground transportation would benefit from safety concepts currently applied to air transportation.

Alon Levy May 18, 2013 - 8:22 pm

Yes, but.

First, the NTSB applies different standards to different modes. Air safety it’s very concerned about, but it has little to say about culture of unsafe operations among drivers. When a truck with faulty brakes ran into a train, its recommendation was to strengthen train side collision strength (to be paid by the train operators and manufacturers) rather than to improve truck safety inspections.

Second, the NTSB thinks in terms of the safety of each mode separately rather than in that of the entire transportation system. Every regulation that makes it more expensive to run trains or planes will shift passengers to cars, raising overall fatalities. It never makes recommendations regarding mode shift.

And third, the new secretary of transportation is the former head of the NTSB. This means that someone who is steeped in its attitudes is now going to have formal regulatory authority.

Alex B. May 19, 2013 - 2:05 pm

When was Anthony Foxx the head of the NTSB?

Alon Levy May 19, 2013 - 7:23 pm

Sorry, I had a brainfart. For some reason I misremembered that it was Wiseman (who was on the shortlist if I remember correctly) and not Foxx.

Peter May 18, 2013 - 8:32 am

+1 for Chris C.

DingDong May 18, 2013 - 6:14 pm

This is second derailment in the last two months on the NEC near New Haven. It would be nice if some redundancy could be built into the system.

Berk32 May 19, 2013 - 1:07 am

normally there is (with 4 tracks) – problem is 2 of the tracks are already out thanks to repair work


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