NEW YORK (PIX 11) — At this point, if you’re a Metro-North commuter simply questioning the readiness of the train engineer bringing to you work – there’s little distinction between not being “focused,” or in full REM sleep while behind the controls.
The bottom line – we might not be talking about an 82 mph derailment in a 30 mph zone if the Metro-North already had new technology called “positive train control” installed on its system. The MTA – along with several of the nation’s other largest railroads – is already having serious trouble making a federally mandated end of 2015 deadline to have the new tech up and running.
“Much of the technology is still under development and is untested and unproven for commuter railroads the size and complexity of Metro-North and LIRR, and all of the radio spectrum necessary to operate PTC has not been made available.”
The agency estimates it will cost $900 million to install PTC on both the Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.
NTSB member Earl Weener says it’s money well spent.
“These systems provide a safety redundancy by slowing or stopping a train that’s not being operated in accordance with signals, speed limits, or other operating rules. PTC is proven technology that can prevent train to train collisions, over speed derailments, and incursions in the work zones. Since this is a derailment involving a high speed, it’s possible that PTC could have prevented it,” said Weener.
Safety is not just being addressed on the tech front. Governor Cuomo announced Tuesday that, at his direction, the MTA will begin implementing what’s called a safety stand down. This could happen as soon as Thursday, and employees will be required to participate in safety briefings.