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New Jersey Transit yesterday outlined rail safety upgrades it has developed in the wake of a commuter train crash at the Hoboken Terminal last year.The agency's rail operations team is replacing all stub-end tracks at the terminal with new sliding friction bumper blocks. The team also is "advancing a speed control system for trains entering the Hoboken Terminal," NJ Transit officials said in a press release.During last year's crash, a train sped up to more than twice the posted speed limit before it hit the terminal. Although the accident's cause has yet to be determined, NJ Transit continues to take actions to protect riders, said Executive Director Steve Santoro."The steps we've taken so far are moving us in the right direction and we continually raise the bar higher each and every day," Santoro said. "Safety is a demand that I will not compromise or negotiate on."NJ Transit previously hired a contractor to conduct a detailed inspection of all bumper blocks at the terminal. The contractor also was asked to recommend the type of bumper block to replace the one damaged in the accident.The agency then decided to replace all the bumper blocks with sliding friction ones at Hoboken Terminal, the Atlantic City Rail Terminal and the Meadowlands Rail Station.NJ Transit's other safety initiatives over the past year include performing enhanced screenings for sleep apnea, adding more personnel to the front of trains entering certain stations, and reducing speed limits. The engineer involved in the Hoboken incident was diagnosed with sleep apnea, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's accident docket, which the board made public yesterday. [See related story.]To date, 350 of NJ Transit's 370 locomotive engineers have been screened for sleep apnea. By Sept. 30, all locomotive engineers will be screened for sleep apnea.Moreover, the agency is installing more forward- and inward-facing cameras on its trains. Nearly 84 percent of its trains now have forward-facing cameras, while more than 73 percent of the rail fleet has inward-facing cameras.NJ Transit's office of system safety also continues to hire and backfill key safety positions, including adding a deputy chief safety officer.
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