Feds Order Emergency Rules on Metro-North

The Federal Railroad Administration issued an emergency order on Friday, December 6, ordering Metro-North Railroad to implement enhanced safety practices at certain track locations, according to reporting by Matt Flegenheimer in The New York Times (published online, Dec. 6).  The order appears to apply to locations where the speed limit decreases by more than 20 miles per hour, such as at the curve near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx, where a fatal wreck occurred 5 days before.  The railroad is ordered to identify modifications to its automatic train-control and signal systems to ensure compliance with such speed reductions.  Until the modifications are in place, the railroad must “have two people in place to operate trains” where the speed limits exist.  Reportedly, the extra personnel will be required starting Tuesday, Dec. 10.  It is not yet clear whether the additional person in the cab would have to be a qualified engineer; it might be that other train-service personnel who are qualified on the operating rules and the track involved, such as conductors, could satisfy the requirement.  It might be difficult or impossible for the railroad to come up with enough engineers to provide 2 on each train, particularly in rush hours.

The full story was formerly found at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/07/nyregion/metro-north-is-ordered-to-modify-its-signal-system.html