NTSB finalizing crash details on Metro-North derailment

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NTSB is wrapping up interviews and tests with the train engineer operating the Metro-North train that derailed December 1.

Earlier in the week, investigators said they would be looking at engineer Bill Rockefeller’s previous 72 hours before the derailment and that would include physical tests.

4 people were killed and dozens injured when the train, traveling 82 miles per hour, went off the tracks as it tore into a well-known curve heading south along one of the Hudson Line tracks.

The engine was equipped with a safety warning, but when trains are headed south the engine is located in the rear of the train and it is unmanned. The engineer operates the train from a front cab.

Steven Harrod, who teaches at the University of Dayton and specializes in transportation issues, says “positive train control” is the ultimate solution. It enhances the operation and control of the train and Congress has set December 2015 deadline. Railroads across the country, including Metro-North and the LIRR, have questioned the costs and technology.

If the train had been on another track, crews tell PIX11 News, it would have had to cross over which would have triggered an alarm in the front cab.

The NTSB may release some preliminary comments on the crew and personel operations next week after completing all interviews. Reports have already found no problem with the brakes or tracks.