Metro North investigation continues

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

December 3, 2013 2:05:56 PM PST
Human error seems certain as the cause of that horrific and deadly derailment of a Metro North Hudson Line in the Bronx on Sunday.

The engineer a 15-year-veteran of the MTA and driving trains for the past 10 years apparently either fell asleep or went into some type of "zone."

He simply didn't have time to slow the train to navigate the curve; he was going 82 miles an hour around a curve that calls for a 30 miles an hour speed limit.

The brakes worked, all the equipment worked, alcohol tests came back negative, and the engineer's cell phone was off although the cell phone records are still being looked at.

The engineer is now on unpaid leave, and could be in a host of trouble. He could likely face criminal charges, and he and the MTA will likely be hit with dozens of lawsuits.

The bigger question is whether this accident could have been prevented? The answer appears to be yes. Metro North at least for this particular curve did not have in place the technology to have a fail-safe system take over from the engineer when it sensed the train was going too fast to make the curve.

And that may be the second biggest tragedy here. Why wasn't this technology in place? This is different than the state-of-the-art systems the NTSB wants in place around the country by 2015. This is technology that's been available for two decades ? and that Metro North has in place at other stations. Why not here?

We're looking into all this, tonight at 11.

Meanwhile, a remarkable development tonight. Gov. Cuomo announcing that 98 percent of Hudson Line service ? suspended since Sunday morning's deadly derailment could be restored by the morning commute tomorrow! Stunningly fast.

Also at 11, we're in Newtown, Connecticut, where the Newtown High School football team, undefeated in this season dedicated to the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims, starts the playoffs. Clearly, an emotional season, as the one-year-anniversary of the gun massacre approaches. Our Jim Dolan is there tonight for the game.

And finally, under the good news heading, last month was the best month for sales of cars and small trucks since February 2007, before the economic downturn started. Fingers crossed! We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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