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Are Hot Rails Risky? Sen. Blumenthal Calls Out Metro-North After Derailment

MTA chief Veronique 'Ronnie' Hakim tours the site of the Metro-North train that derailed in Rye, N.Y., last week.
MTA chief Veronique 'Ronnie' Hakim tours the site of the Metro-North train that derailed in Rye, N.Y., last week. Photo Credit: MTA/Twitter

After reports that hot weather last week may have contributed to the derailment of a New Haven Line train near Rye, N.Y., U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is demanding action from Metro-North.

Blumenthal wrote to Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti on Friday, calling for the railroad to address the risk "that will only intensify as temperatures continue to warm."

Metro-North was aware of a "warp" in the tracks caused by the 90-degree temperatures and had advised train operators to lower speeds in the area to 10 mph, Blumenthal said. But the train was reportedly traveling about 50 mph when it derailed, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

“Despite the railroad’s knowledge of the heat kink and the imposition of tougher speed limits, the train flew down the tracks anyway," Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote to Giulietti. "Clearly, effective operational management broke down."

Metro-North had called it a "minor" derailment, with the wheels on five of the 12 cars on the train going off the rails.

"Every derailment is a serious incident endangering life and this one certainly has to be taken seriously," Blumenthal said.

The derailment injured about a dozen people and caused service disruptions for about a week on the New Haven Line.

He demanded that Metro-North explain how it is dealing with the risk of heat kinks on the rails this summer. He also wants to know how Metro-North will ensure that trains are not speeding.

Blumenthal also repeated his call for Metro-North to meet its December 2018 deadline to implement Positive Train Control technology.

PTC technology – which prevents human error from allowing trains to speed – is not installed on any Metro-North tracks.

Click here to read the story at the ABC 7 Eyewitness News website.

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