Metro-North says it has changed procedures after accidents

Washington — Howard Permut, president of Metro-North, said the railroad has taken several steps in reaction to last month’s derailment near Bridgeport.

Those included retaining the Transportation Technology Center, a railroad testing and training facility located near Pueblo, Colo.

A faulty joint bar — which holds two sections of track together — was discovered near the site of the collision, and a section of the track was brought to Washington, D.C., for testing by the National Transportation Safety Board.

After the accident, Metro-North launched an inspection of all joint bars on the line. In a letter to Connecticut lawmakers, Permut said no defects were found in other joint bars.

Last week, Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Chris Murphy, D.-Conn., and Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, criticized the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the parent company of Metro-North, because it knew there was a problem on the track but did not address it before the crash.

The lawmakers said they are also upset the NTSB could take up to a year to finish its investigation of the crash. They asked the agency to move faster.

“Riders deserve to know why reports of the compromised track were not immediately remedied, and only NTSB has the stature and authority to provide us with these answers. They should do so, and quickly,” Murphy said.

Less than two weeks after the May 17 crash that left 72 passengers injured, some severely, a Metro-North worker was struck and killed by a train in West Haven.

There are indications the worker thought the track he was on had been shut down.

In his letter to the lawmakers, Permut said Metro North is “building in additional safeguards to our procedures in the railroad’s operations control center regarding returning tracks to revenue service.”