Panel Faults Safety Practices at New York’s Metro-North Railroad

August 29, 2014

New York’s Metro-North Railroad has sacrificed safety for on-time performance, according to a report released Wednesday by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority panel.

The report echoes an assessment conducted this year by the Federal Railroad Administration, which investigated after a string of Metro-North accidents including a December 2013 derailment that killed four riders in the Bronx.

The MTA panel examined safety and maintenance practices at Metro-North, the Long Island Rail Road and the city’s subway system. It found that the “safety culture” at the LIRR and the subway system “appears to be performing fairly well.”

But at Metro-North, the panel said, “there is strong evidence to suggest that this is not the case.”

The panel identified tension between train operations and maintenance at all three agencies but said the issue is “magnified” at Metro-North, where on-time performance has been paramount.

Officials at the railroad, which connects the city to its northern suburbs and Connecticut, have said they are working to improve safety practices.

The MTA panel’s report includes 29 recommendations for the three rail systems including the implementation of a computerized maintenance management system.

The three rail agencies, all overseen by the MTA, carry a combined 6 million daily commuters.

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