Senator Richard Blumenthal has condemned Metro-North and many other railroads for failing to implement Positive Train Control safety technology. Only four of more than 40 railroads have installed the technology which can control train speeds and prevent collisions and derailments in the event of human error.
The deadline for the railroads to have positive train control installed was the end of December. That deadline had already been extended from an original one in 2015.
Blumenthal is calling on the Federal Railroad Administration to begin imposing daily fines if they fail to meet a new, extended deadline, which he said must itself be short.
“Rail is our future in the Northeast - we are among the most densely populated areas of the entire country," said Blumenthal, speaking at New Haven's Union Station. "We must expand rail ridership. To make rail safe, positive train control is an absolute necessity.”
Blumenthal said the shutdown of the federal government means the Railroad Administration has staff on furlough, which slows down the enforcement of safety measures.
Metro-North borrowed almost a billion dollars from the federal government to install PTC. It says it has made progress in the installation, but it is not yet complete.