Tag Archives: Metro-North

Valhalla, NY: No NTSB final report two years after fatal accident

7 Feb

Two years on from a level crossing accident that took six lives and injured 15, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has still to publish a final report with a definitive set of recommendations. In response to this scenario, local, state and federal representatives have pushed for the NTSB report to be released sooner rather than later. In response, an NTSB spokesperson has suggested spring 2017 when the wider world will hear further from NTSB.

LX info’s Aidan Nelson says “two years after an accident is surely long enough for any accident investigation body to publish a final report and recommendations therein to prevent a recurrence. Indeed, except in exceptional circumstances, 12 months should be the norm.  Where there are exceptional circumstances extending the timescale beyond one year, investigation bodies should be required to publish a report setting out the exceptional circumstances which are extending the timetable for the investigation as well as interim conclusions so far determined and recommendations resulting from these interim conclusions”.


Chappaqua, NY: 90-years-on and Federal funds sought to enable grade-separation

25 Feb

Some 90 years after it was first proposed, grade-separation of the intersection of Roaring Brook Road and the Metro-North Harlem Line right-of-way in Chappaqua, New Castle, is again in play. Following the fatal accident in Valhalla in January 2015, town officials are seeking federal funding to enable the level crossing to be eliminated by the expedited construction of a road over rail bridge. It is being argued that the proximity of the level crossing to an exit ramp of the Saw Mill Parkway and the proximity of a high school make this project a priority.

The level crossing is adjacent to the former Reader’s Digest corporate campus and it is of note that in the 1930s, DeWitt and Lila Wallace -founders of Reader’s Digest donated the land to enable a road over rail bridge to be constructed. Recently, a re-zoning that would allow the Reader’s Digest site to be used for a large retail development was passed. This raises further concerns about the level crossing as road traffic would increase substantially as a result of the retail development. At present it is expected that while other highway works would be a condition precedent, the elimination of the level crossing is not included in these enabling works.

Valhalla, NY: NTSB issues preliminary report

25 Feb

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a preliminary report on the crash between a Metro-North passenger train and a SUV in Valhalla on February 3rd, 2015 in which five passengers and the driver of the SUV were killed.

The NTSB report states that the SUV was stopped with the rear of the vehicle in line with a level crossing barrier while the crossing closure sequence automatically lowered the barrier which struck the SUV. The NTSB says that this led to the motorist to leave her vehicle in order to look at the rear where it had been struck by the lowering barrier. The NTSB further states that the woman then returned to her vehicle and moved it forward at which point it was struck by a train travelling at 58 mph when an emergency brake application was initiated about 90 metres before the crossing slowing the train to 49 mph at the point of impact

The north bound train pushed the eastbound SUV about 200 metres along the track. As result of the collision the traction current third rail detached from its mountings, pierced the SUV and entered the leading vehicle through the floor. In total 12 sections of the third rail, each 12 metres long were found inside the leading vehicle.

Metro-North has estimated the material damage from the crash alone amounts to be USD3.7 million.


Valhalla, NY: Six killed in passenger train crossing collision

6 Feb

Following the fatal collision of a Metro-North passenger train with a road vehicle on the Commerce Street level crossing in Valhalla, some 20 miles North of New York City,  that killed six people and injured 12, a New York congressman wants federal grants reinstating to fund the requirements contained within a presently unfunded component of the Rail Safety Improvement Act. Representative Sean Maloney whose 18th District includes some of the route impacted by the collision on February 3rd, 2015 wants grants of USD400 million over the next four years to address risk at dangerous and heavily trafficked level crossings.

Five Metro-North passengers and the driver of a private road vehicle were killed when a peak-hour commuter train hit the SUV at a speed of 58 mph on a level crossing adjacent to the Taconic Parkway that federal investigators have said was functioning correctly at the time of the collision which occurred after the road vehicle had stopped on the level crossing. The female motorist exited her vehicle and then got back in and was trying to move her vehicle clear when the train struck the vehicle.

As a result of the impact, the leading vehicle of the train caught fire and burned extensively,possibly as a result of igniting fuel from the SUV. The third rail providing traction current penetrated through the floor of the train’s leading vehicle.


Danbury, CT: Probe into problem crossings continues

24 Mar

Repeated right-side failures with lights flashing and barriers lowered at level crossings on the recently re-signalled Danbury line over which Metro-North operates the passenger service on behalf of Connecticut’s Department of Transportation (CT DoT). Now, CT DoT has initiated remedial works in association with the contractor responsible for the Danbury branch re-signalling project completed at the end of 2013.

In the meantime, trains are operating to a revised timetable as they are being stopped before they pass over the affected level crossings at minimal speed. Also, off-peak and weekend Metro-Northtrains have been replaced by buses since March 1st, 2014 to provide access for those addressing the repeated failure of level crossings on the Danbury branch.