NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday it will hold an investigative hearing on two recent Metro-North Railroad accidents in the state.
On May 17 in Bridgeport, an eastbound train derailed and was struck by a westbound train, injuring 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor.
On May 28, a track foreman was struck and killed by a train in West Haven. The foreman had requested that a section of track he was working on be taken out of service for maintenance. Two Metro-North rail traffic controllers, one of whom was a student controller, placed the section out of service with an electronic block, but the student controller removed the electronic block a little more than an hour later without the knowledge of the qualified controller or the track foreman, the NTSB said.
The NTSB issued an urgent safety recommendation to Metro-North to provide redundant protection for track maintenance crews that depend on rail traffic controllers to provide signal protection. Metro-North said it would implement a pilot program to install devices recommended by the safety board.
During the hearing, on Oct. 22 and 23 in Washington, parties to the investigations will testify about track inspection and maintenance, passenger car safety standards, crashworthiness, policy and practice of roadway worker protection and organizational safety culture.
Both investigations are ongoing, and the hearing will develop additional facts to support them, the NTSB said. The determination of a probable cause for each of the accidents will be released when the investigations are complete, it said.
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