Robert Luden, Metro-North track worker, killed by Manhattan-bound train

A southbound train pulls into the New Rochelle A southbound train pulls into the New Rochelle Metro-North station. (March 27, 2012) Photo Credit: Angela Gaul

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A veteran Metro-North track worker was fatally struck by a Manhattan-bound train Tuesday afternoon while working on a station under construction in West Haven, Conn., authorities say.

The death of Robert Luden, 52, comes 11 days after a New Haven-bound train derailed near Bridgeport, Conn., and collided with an oncoming train headed for Grand Central Terminal.

Seventy-two people were injured in the May 17 crash, which occurred during the Friday evening rush hour.

"Everyone at the MTA and Metro-North is deeply saddened by the death of Robert Luden," MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. "This is a tragedy and our hearts and prayers go out to the employee's loved ones."

MTA officials say the accident occurred around noon on tracks east of a future station under construction in West Haven along Metro-North's New Haven Line.

It shut down service between Milford and New Haven for two hours. The MTA Police Department is investigating the accident.

Luden is a track foreman who has been with the railroad for 27 years. He has a wife and several children, one source said.

On Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary findings in the derailment.

NTSB officials say their investigation is centered on a joint bar used to hold two pieces of rail together that cracked near the derailment site last month and was repaired.

MTA officials say the joint bar was replaced, not repaired.

An engineer on the New Haven-bound train told the NTSB that he observed an "unusual condition" on the tracks before the collision.

The NTSB has not said whether the damaged joint bar caused the derailment.

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