Feds promise ‘thorough investigation' of fatal NY train crash

Feds promise ‘thorough investigation' of fatal NY train crash
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Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE is promising to conduct a “thorough investigation” of a fatal crash on the New York Metro-North commuter railway that killed seven people. 

“As of last night, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) investigators are on the scene, and this department will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the factors contributing to this accident,” Foxx wrote in a blog post on the department’s website. 

“I have sent FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg to the investigation scene, where she will join other FRA personnel on site, including a Railroad Safety Specialist acting as Lead Investigator, two Motive Power & Equipment Inspectors, three Operating Practice Inspectors, a Signal & Train Control Inspector, and our Regional Administrator,” Foxx continued. “And I am being briefed by FRA as updates become available.” 

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The accident occurred Tuesday night when a train on Metro-North’s “Harlem Line” collided with a sport utility vehicle that was stranded on its tracks in Valhalla, N.Y., which is north of New York City. 

Six people aboard the train, including its operator, and the driver of the SUV were killed. 

Foxx said “the FRA team is coordinating with local law enforcement and supporting the National Transportation Safety Board."

“The NTSB will spearhead the investigation,” he wrote. “They are also in close coordination with our state and federal partners including members of Congress, [New York] Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).”

Metro-North had four high-profile accidents in 2013, including a collision of two trains in Connecticut, a freight rail accident in the same area of the track maintained by Metro-North two months later, another crash that killed four people and an unrelated employee fatality.  

Foxx said the Obama administration would make regulatory changes if the investigations into the Metro-North crash showed problems with existing railway rules. 

“Safety is this department's absolute top priority, and it must be every railroad's absolute top priority,” he wrote. “If we establish that safety lapses contributed to this tragedy, we will order necessary corrective actions. In the meantime, we will continue our laser focus on safety. And our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.” 

Lawmakers who represent parts of New York that rely on Metro-North expressed similar concern about the deadly accident.

“I'm heartbroken, #MetroNorth riders are moms, dads, brothers, & sisters & w/ every accident a family is torn apart by an unspeakable tragedy,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) tweeted after reports of the accident emerged late Tuesday night. 

“As MTA & NTSB look into #MetroNorth crash we need to know how & why it happened & take steps to prevent these incidents from ever recurring,” Maloney continued