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Late last week, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it will conduct a 60-day comprehensive safety assessment of MTA Metro-North Railroad as a result of the Dec. 1 train derailment that killed four people and injured dozens more.Starting today, the "Operation Deep Dive" assessment will involve an "exhaustive" review of Metro-North's compliance with federal regulations, its procedures and practices, and its safety culture,” FRA officials said in a press release."We continue to support the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the root cause of [the] crash. In turn, Operation Deep Dive will secure the long-term safety of Metro-North’s services and fully restore public confidence in its operations," said FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo in Friday's "Fast Lane" blog on the U.S. Department of Transportation's website.The 60-day review follows several other FRA actions to immediately improve rail safety following the Metro-North accident, Szabo said. Those actions included requiring the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which operates Metro-North, to implement a "safety stand-down" and a confidential close-call reporting system; an emergency order requiring Metro-North to identify safety risk areas and modify operating practices to address those areas; and a safety advisory to all railroads to follow speed restrictions, mandatory testing and other federal regulations.After the FRA's comprehensive review is completed, the agency will report its findings and recommendations, and consider whether additional action is necessary to strengthen safety, Szabo said.
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