Federal rail officials to install train cameras

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board inspect

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board inspect the derailed Metro-North train in the Bronx earlier this month. (Dec. 1, 2013) (Credit: AP)

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The nation's railroad regulatory agency will install cameras in train operators' cabins nationwide by the end of this year or early 2015 in response to December's deadly Metro-North derailment, according to senators Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal.

The plan will place cameras inside operators' cabins to record their actions. Cameras will also be positioned outside the cars to record the trains' travels, Schumer said Sunday.

Both Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains will have cameras installed.


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Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Blumenthal (D-Conn.) both said they were pleased the Federal Railroad Administration acted on recommendations first proposed by the National Transportation Safety Board in 2008. The investigation into the Dec. 1 incident, in which four passengers were killed and 67 were injured, is still ongoing.

Officials said that the train's engineer, William Rockefeller, dozed off before coming onto a steep curve in the Bronx.

Schumer, who wrote a letter to the FRA after the crash urging it to move forward on the NTSB recommendations, said the cameras will make sure train operators are working safely.

"Most conductors are good," he said at a news conference Sunday with Blumenthal at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. "But when there are bad apples, you have to find them."

The FRA will hammer out the details of how many cameras will be on each train and will seek input from the public and the train operators' union representatives.

Currently, only Amtrak has video cameras positioned outside cars.

Schumer said the cameras also will deter train operators from engaging in unethical behavior while behind the wheel.

Blumenthal said he expects no hassle from the railroad workers union or the public over the cameras, which will cost in the "tens of millions" of dollars.

Passengers demand safety and would welcome any solution to make sure the Bronx accident never happens again, Blumenthal said.

"I urge that there be no further delay," Blumenthal said. "These rules are long overdue."

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