Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:11 pm
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced a milestone agreement today in the effort to bring high- speed passenger rail service to western Massachusetts.
Governor Patrick arrived in Greenfield onboard a train from North Adams to announce a tentative agreement to have the state purchase the rail line between East Northfield on the Vermont border and Springfield. The 49-mile stretch is nearing the completion of a major restoration that will return passenger rail service to communities along the Connecticut River.
A tentative agreement has headed off a strike at the nation's largest commuter railroad.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who became personally involved in talks between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and unions representing Long Island Rail Road workers, announced Thursday that a deal had been reached, three days ahead of a planned strike.
The 5,400 LIRR employees had been working without a contract since 2010.
"This is a compromise by both parties after four long years," Cuomo said.
Once again, violence has escalated in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Rockets are now reaching northern Israel and that government is responding with barrages of its own rocket attacks on Palestinian targets. We talk with a local professor who recently returned from the region and studies this on-going conflict.
Governor Dannel Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal and other leaders met in New York City on Monday to discuss the latest problem for Connecticut rail travel. The 118-year-old Walk Bridge in Norwalk has gotten stuck in the open position twice in recent days, leading to major Metro-North and Amtrak delays.
A newspaper reports that federal inspectors found more than 7,100 defects and deficiencies in the Metro-North Railroad over the last decade, but records show regulators launched an investigation only after two high-profile accidents last year.
The plan follows a terrible year for the railroad in 2013, including a derailment and collision in Bridgeport that injured 76 people and a derailment in The Bronx, New York, in which four people were killed.
In an unusual move, a Metro-North conductor left a note on passengers' seats Monday morning apologizing for an express train on Friday that never came.
Michael Shaw said he put 500 copies of his written apology on seats after telling passengers at the New Haven, West Haven, Milford, and Stratford stations to wait for an express train that was later canceled. In his note, he said he was "shocked and furious."
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:36 am
A federal agency has issued safety recommendations following December’s fatal Metro-North commuter train derailment in the Bronx. The recommendations come in the form of a letter to Metro-North’s president.
Over 100 people attended a forum in Fairfield on Tuesday night intended for Metro-North commuters to talk about problems plaguing the rail service. Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker attended the event at the Pequot Library and took questions.
Governor Dannel Malloy met on Monday with Joseph Giulietti, the new president of Metro-North Railroad, and Thomas Prendergast, chairman and chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Malloy said Connecticut and the MTA agreed to establish an independent review before work is done on Metro-North's power or electrical lines, in order to avoid outages like what happened last September.
With an increasing number of angry rail commuters, and calls by some state legislators for federal intervention, Governor Dannel Malloy opened the door on Monday to the possibility of putting the operation of Metro-North’s New Haven line out for bid.
Governor Malloy announces upgrades to the New Haven line alongside other officials. Behind him, from left: Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, DOT Commissioner James Redeker, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty.
Work on a $10 million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro North’s New Haven Line begins on Monday. The upgrade is aimed at preventing the kind of catastrophic power failure that took place in New York last fall, seriously disrupting service.
Governor Dannel Malloy announced the project Sunday at Union Station in New Haven. “Transportation is the backbone of our economy here in Connecticut,” he said. “As governor, I’ve been clear that we need to invest in bringing our highways and mass transit systems into the 21st century after years of under-investment.”
Governor Dannel Malloy called Thursday night's Metro-North maintenance failure "totally avoidable." The outage brought the entire network of commuter trains to a halt for just under two hours in frigid temperatures.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Charles Schumer said over the weekend they had been informed by the Federal Railroad Administration that it would begin procedures this year to establish a rule regarding installation of video cameras on trains.
The devices could be installed in train cars to record unsafe behavior by drivers. Outward-facing cameras would scan the tracks. The National Transportation Safety Board has been urging the railroad administration to increase the use of safety cameras for several years.
The year 2013 was not a great one for the Metro-North Commuter Railroad, with a collision, a major power outage, and, most recently a fatal derailment making the six o’clock news around the country. What this series of mishaps actually points out, however, is that when one considers the number of freight, passenger and commuter trains running in this country, rail travel is still a pretty safe way to get around. This was not the case a century or more ago, when railroad accidents and disasters were frequent and deadly.
A group in Connecticut would like to see passenger service restored to the Housatonic Railroad and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty seems willing to explore the idea. The 90-mile-long Housatonic Railroad was chartered prior to the dawn of the Civil War and runs from Massachusetts to Danbury. Currently, it serves only freight trains. Its last passenger train ran in 1971.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:53 pm
A dozen oil tanker rail cars burst into flames after two trains collided in eastern North Dakota on Monday.
No one was hurt during the derailment or fire, but thick black smoke was rolling off the wreckage after five explosions rocked the town of Casselton, about 10 miles west of Fargo.
The collision occurred after a westbound train carrying soybeans derailed, and an eastbound train hauling crude oil ran into it, Cecily Fong, the public information officer with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, tells Reuters.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:40 pm
The investigation into the Bronx, N.Y., train crash that killed four people Sunday will continue without the direct involvement of the rail employees union the Association of Commuter Rail Employees. The move was in response to remarks the union's leader made at a Tuesday news conference regarding the train engineer's awareness level moments before a catastrophic derailment.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:30 am
Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday:
Federal investigators in New York announced late Tuesday that they had removed the rail employees union, the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, as a participant in the investigation. According to The Associated Press, investigators cited a breach of confidentiality after Anthony Bottalico, leader of the union, spoke to the media concerning comments train engineer William Rockefeller had made about what happened moments before Sunday's derailment.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 6:53 pm
Update at 6:50 p.m. ET. Speeding Into Curve; A Mile Or More To Safely Stop:
A commuter train headed into New York City was traveling at 82 mph Sunday morning when it entered a curve where the speed limit was supposed to be 30 mph and derailed, National Transportation Safety Board investigators have concluded. Four people on the train were killed and at least 60 others were injured.
A Metro-North train on the Hudson line derailed Sunday morning in the Bronx. Four people were killed and more than 60 people were injured.
It's been a difficult year for Metro-North. In May, two commuter trains collided outside of Bridgeport, injuring more than 70 people. Just weeks later, a track foreman was killed by a train near West Haven. Then in September, a power failure disrupted travel on the New Haven line for nearly two weeks.