Four years ago, a commuter train of the Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem Line struck an SUV at a crossing in Valhalla, New York. The SUV burst into flames, and sparks from the electrified third rail of the tracks caused the lead train cars to catch on fire. The driver of the SUV was killed, along with five train passengers. Fifteen train riders were injured.
Several cars on a Long Island Rail Road train derailed on Wednesday morning, injuring scores of commuters. The F.D.N.Y. has reported that 103 passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash, the most severe being a broken leg. The accident happened at the peak of rush hour when the train, originating from Far Rockaway, Queens, and carrying 600 to 700 people, crashed into a bumper block at the end of the track at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal. The train was apparently traveling at a low rate of speed at the time, which is probably why the injuries weren’t more severe. Investigators from New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are looking into the cause of the crash.
The one year anniversary of the most deadly Metro-North crash ever has just passed. The crash involved a Metro-North train hitting an SUV stopped at a railroad crossing in Westchester County. The SUV driver, Ellen Brody, was hit around 6:30 p.m. by a train carrying 800 passengers. At the time of the accident, the train was traveling at 58 mph, well under the set 70 mph speed limit. The train’s engineer wasn’t able to stop in time. The accident killed Brody and five passengers on board the train.
Now, the family of the deceased driver is suing Metro-North, the State of New York, Westchester County, and the town of Mount Pleasant for negligence and wrongful death.
Statistically, trains are safer for passengers than vehicles – but accidents and injuries can still occur. You can help yourself and your fellow passengers stay safer when riding on rail systems by keeping several safety tips in mind.
Statistically, rail remains one of the safest ways to travel in the United States – but that doesn’t mean railways are accident-free. Staff errors, aging tracks and equipment, inclement weather, and other problems may all cause or contribute to a train accident.
Experienced NY train accident attorneys take care to follow railway safety statistics, like these numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS):
Amtrak provides nationwide passenger train transport in the United States, including service to a number of locations in the New York area. After a recent crash in Philadelphia, however, many riders are wondering just how safe Amtrak’s passenger service is. The Washington Post recently released an article summarizing Amtrak safety data gathered by the Federal Railroad Administration.
An overall view of Amtrak’s accident rate per 1 million passenger miles shows that the number of accidents has been dropping in recent years. In 2012, 2013, and 2014, Amtrak experienced fewer than 2 accidents per 1 million passenger miles – a rate considerably lower than the rate of other types of travel accidents, like motor vehicle crashes. The number of derailments of Amtrak trains each year has also dropped, from an average of 80 in 2000 to an average of 28 in 2014.
Federal investigators looking into a recent Amtrak train accident have turned their attention to the cell phone records of the engineer who was responsible for driving the train when it crashed.
Although their investigation has revealed that the engineer did text and participate in phone calls on the day of the crash, investigators have not yet said whether any of those messages were received or sent while the train was in motion. They are currently matching the data in the cell phone records to data in the locomotive’s event recorder, its video stream, recorded radio communications, and other surveillance videos to see if any messages can be pinpointed to specific moments in the events leading up to and including the crash. The engineer has said that he does not remember the events of the crash.
Over 200 passengers were injured and eight were killed when an Amtrak train headed for New York from Washington D.C. on May 12, 2015 derailed in Philadelphia, overturning six of the seven cars. Eight passengers were killed and six were taken to nearby hospitals in critical condition.
The majority of those injured were fortunate enough to escape from the twisted wreckage with only minor physical injuries; however, survivors and family members alike may be faced with untold psychological and emotional repercussions for years to come.
As Amtrak seeks answers regarding the derailment, survivors of the tragic rail accident are taking legal action to resolve questions of their own, such as, “How can I afford such overwhelming medical expenses and other economic losses as a result of the crash?”
Metro-North and LIRR will share a federal loan of nearly $1 billion dollars for safety updates aimed at cutting down on train accidents and making the two lines models of high-tech railroad safety nationwide, according to a recent article in the Hartford Courant.
Regulators with the Federal Railroad Administration say that the “positive train control” system uses GPS technology to help trains avoid collisions. Although Congress gave the FRA seven years, with a deadline of 2015, to install the equipment in all passenger and freight lines currently operating in the United States, the agency has not had the funding or resources to meet the deadline.
On February 3, 2015, a tragic train-SUV collision in Valhalla, New York took the lives of six people. Now the widow of one of the victims is planning to sue Metro-North, the town of Mount Pleasant, and Westchester County for $25 million.
According to the claim filed on behalf of the widow, her husband suffered severe burns, lacerations, and other physical trauma in the fiery crash. The notice of intent, filed on April 29, alleges that he experienced pain and suffering prior to his death.
The claim also alleges that Metro-North neglected to:
- Provide adequate lighting and safe crossing gates