Tag Archives: Valhalla

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”.


Valhalla, NY: Further incident two-years on from multiple fatality accident

30 Jan

Media and community  interest in the Commerce Street level crossing in Valhalla, New York, has been heightened by a further incident after an accident killed five railway passengers and a motorist. In the latest incident at about 11.00am on January 27th, 2017, a barrier was knocked-off, it is presumed because it was struck by a vehicle using the crossing when the barrier was descending or had already descended.




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: Political fallout of fatal commuter train collision mounts

9 Feb

Further political interventions are following the Valhalla level crossing collision that killed five passengers and a motorist on February 3rd, 2015. Now US Representative Nita Lowey, Democrat-Westhester/Rockland has set out the actions she is pursuing in order to reduce risk at level crossings.

Her first line of attack is through more effective education of motorists, building on the Operation Lifesaver programme to ensure that when someone is “trapped” on a level crossing when barriers descend they know what to do. Simpistically, the message is immediately drive forward and exit the crossing. Fundamentally, there is a bigger education goal – to ensure that motorists understands that they should only cross the railway when their exit is assured through there being sufficient space beyond the level crossing to accommodate the vehicle in question.

The second strand of Ms Lowey’s call for further action to reduce the risk arising at level crossings is through greater enforcement against those who drive onto a level crossing when their exit from it is not assured.

The third element of Ms Lowey’s call to action is through the adoption of new technology to reduce risk at level crossings. In reality, the technology is there today but has been slow to be adopted as there are greater priorities for the funding. This is inevitable when level crossing risk forms only 1-2% of highway risk. Nonetheless, it is incumbent on all concerned to determine at which level crossings it would be appropriate to use, for example, radar to prove a crossing is clear of any obstruction. Further opportunities exist through road traffic signal preemption.

Ms Lowey recognises the need for greater federal funding if the three strands are to be pursued. Menwhile, Ms Lowey led a moment of silence on February 4th, 2015 with other New York state colleagues on the floor of the US House of Representatives to show their regard for the victims of the Valhalla accident. Ms Lowey also issued a statement which said: “My thoughts are with the victims of this horrible accident, I offer my deep condolences to their families, and I pray for the recovery of those who were injured tonight [February 3rd, 2015]. I thank our first responders and have been in contact with the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, which quickly deployed to the scene.”

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.