The National Transportation Safety Board began an investigative hearing today on two Metro-North Railroad accidents in Connecticut earlier year. On May 17 in Bridgeport, an east-bound train derailed, and was struck by a west-bound train, injuring 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor. Later in the month, a track foreman was struck and killed by a train in West Haven.
Today's hearing focused on how Metro-North conducted routine maintenance, repairs and inspections before the accidents. The federal railroad administration's Ken Rusk was asked if a crack in a joint bar can be detected by an inspector from a moving train. A cracked joint bar is the suspected cause of the Bridgeport collision."Typically what an inspector would do would be able to see indications or problem areas that would cause a cracked bar," said Rusk, "then they would probably get out of the truck and then would able to spot it while on foot, but riding in a high rail, I would say it would be very difficult."
The hearing, which runs today and tomorrow, will also include talks on passenger car safety standards, protecting workers, and safety changes since the accidents. Representatives of Metro-North, the federal railroad administration, and labor union leaders will all speak. The
NTSB has said that results of the investigations for each of the accidents will be released once they’re completed.