Two Metro-North derailments in New York have renewed concerns among federal regulators over the commuter railroad’s focus on safety.
No one was injured after trains left the tracks at Grand Central Terminal and White Plains, New York, on Wednesday. The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating, Hearst Connecticut Media reported.
“While both of these incidents were minor, they do raise questions about Metro-North’s safety culture in light of their recent safety record,” said Mike England, a spokesman for the federal agency.
The site of the Grand Central derailment is a “very confined area with columns all around and on a curved section of track,” Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said.
Metro-North officials quickly developed an alternate service plan combining trains from the New Haven line and commuters were delayed for up to 15 minutes, she said. Metro-North is working with the Federal Railroad Administration to determine the cause, Anders said.
Repair crews continued to work Thursday to place the derailed rail cars at Grand Central back on the tracks.
James Cameron, a commuter advocate, said an investigation will determine the cause of the derailment in Grand Central and whether it could have been avoided. But he said the age of the system could be at fault.
“Assuming it wasn’t human error, this is the price we pay for running a 100-plus-year-old railroad,” Cameron said.
The two incidents bring to four derailments in less than two years for Metro-North. A May 2013 derailment in Bridgeport injured scores of passengers and four passengers died as a result of a derailment in the Bronx, New York in December 2013.
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