Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New York MTA touts compliance with FRA safety advisory

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Metro-North Signal Department workers consult circuit diagrams, make signal changes and test the system at Spuyten Duyvil. Metro-North Signal Department workers consult circuit diagrams, make signal changes and test the system at Spuyten Duyvil. Metropolitan Transportation Authority / J. P. Chan

As a result of work completed in March 2014 in response to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Emergency Order 29, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North say they are in compliance with the recommendations made recently to all U.S. passenger railroads in FRA Safety Advisory 2015-03.

Safety Advisory 2015-03 recommends that all U.S. passenger railroads “identify locations where there is a reduction of more than 20 mph from the approach speed to a curve or bridge and the maximum authorized operating speed for passenger trains at that curve or bridge” and “modify Automatic Train Control (ATC) systems (if in use) to ensure compliance with speed limits.” Under the enhancements to signal systems section of the advisory, a train that was traveling too quickly into a curve where a speed reduction of 20 miles per hour or more is required would automatically slow itself to the required speed in the event that the train’s engineer failed to do so.

FRA’s recommendation mirrors a requirement it issued in December 2013 to Metro-North that the MTA also applied to LIRR. As a result, the LIRR completed modifications to its signal system in March 2014 to create automatic civil speed enforcement at seven locations: Hicksville on the Ronkonkoma Branch; Hicksville on the Port Jefferson Branch; Syosset; three separate locations between Hicksville and Huntington on the Port Jefferson Branch; and the Hall Interlocking east of Jamaica. Metro-North did the same at curves at Bridgeport, Port Chester, Spuyten Duyvil (where a fatal derailment occurred Dec. 1, 2013), White Plains and Yonkers, as well as five moveable bridges.

“Safety is the MTA’s top priority,” said Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast. “We acted quickly and decisively to shore up a potential safety hazard as soon as it was identified by the FRA.”

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