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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Metro-North begins track, signal repairs at derailment site


MTA Metro-North Railroad crews have begun rebuilding 800 feet of track damaged by Sunday's derailment near the Spuyten Duyvil station on the Hudson Line in the Bronx, railroad officials announced yesterday.

Personnel worked all night Monday to remove debris and ballast, and began laying new ties. With National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) approval, all rail cars were cleared from the tracks as of about 6 p.m. on Monday, Metro-North officials said in a press release.

About 900 gallons of diesel fuel was siphoned from the locomotive before it was removed and workers will continue to clean up any remaining fuel that spilled during the accident, they said.

Crews are rebuilding the middle track (Track 2) by installing new ties and a running rail, in addition to laying down new ballast. Crews also will install a new third rail and restore the signal system. When the work is completed, test trains will be run before service can resume, Metro-North officials said.

"At this time, there is no clear estimate for restoration of train service in this area," they said.

Meanwhile, the NTSB is continuing its investigation into the cause of the derailment, which killed four people and injured dozens. Preliminary information from the event recorders showed the derailed train was traveling more than 80 mph when it entered a 30 mph curve.

The NTSB announced yesterday that it removed the Association of Commuter Rail Employees (ACRE) as a participant in the investigation after the organization’s general chairman conducted a press conference and media interviews during which he "discussed and interpreted information" related to the investigation, board officials said in a press release.

Under NTSB procedures, organizations and agencies are invited to provide expertise in support of the investigation, but they are asked to sign an agreement to maintain confidentiality of investigative information.

"While we value the technical expertise that groups like ACRE can provide during the course of an investigation, it is counterproductive when an organization breaches the party agreement and publicly interprets or comments on investigation information," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. "Our rules exist to avoid the prospect of any party to an NTSB investigation offering its slant on the circumstances of the accident."