Rep. Nadler: 'Something wrong' with Metro-North

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that "something is wrong" with New York's Metro-North commuter trains after the railway suffered its second high-profile accident in 2013 last weekend. 

Appearing on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" show, Nadler said he had questions about the "safety culture" of the Metro-North after series of incidents that have taken place on the railway this year.

"I spoke earlier today with the chairman of the National Transportation safety Board..and she reminded me that there are now four active investigations by the NTSB of accidents on the Metro-North line since May. So there seems to be perhaps something wrong with their safety culture," Nadler said.

"Four incidents that they are now investigating, two of which involve fatalities, something is wrong there," the New York lawmaker continued.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Metro-North commuter trains are operated by the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which also runs the city's heavily-used subway trains. 

The train that crashed on Sunday morning was traveling from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to New York City when it derailed in the Bronx after making nine successful earlier stops. Four passengers were killed in the crash and more than 70 others suffered injuries.

The NTSB has said that the train was traveling 82 miles per hour in an area of track that had a 30 mile-per-hour speed limit in the seconds before the crash.

The driver of the train has told investigators that he momentarily lost focus, according to media reports that were released on Tuesday.

Nadler said in his interview that the Metro-North crash showed the necessity of implementing automated train control, which Congress has mandated for all U.S. railways by 2015.

"This shows the necessity, or the advisablility, of putting into place the Positive Train Control (PTC) equipment that Congress mandated be in place all over the country by 2015," Nadler said. "That would automatically slowed down or stopped that train if the driver…lost control or fell asleep. Clearly it would have prevented the accident."

The automated train technology was used by Washington, D.C.'s Metrorail subway system until the crash of a train on its Red Line in 2009 that was blamed on a failure of the computer system.

In the 2008 funding bill that was passed for railways, Congress set a 2015 deadline for the reimplementation of the automatic train operation.

Sunday's Metro-North crash was the second high-profile accident on the railway has drawn attention to train safety in the U.S.

A pair of Metro-North trains collided with each other in Connecticut in May.

More in Transportation

GOP chairman wants to avoid 'knee-jerk reaction' to rail crashes

Read more »