The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Breaking News

May 20, 2013

Connecticut lawmakers to seek hearings on derailment

(Continued)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. —

The rail line dates back more than a century. George Gavalla, a former associate administrator for safety at the Federal Railroad Administration, said that for a line that old, the various elements would have been replaced several times over. He said federal mandates call for the rails to be inspected twice a week and it was too soon to say what could have caused the collision.

About 700 people were on board the trains Friday evening when one heading east from New York City's Grand Central Terminal to New Haven derailed just outside Bridgeport. It was hit by a train heading west from New Haven. Three people remained hospitalized Monday at Bridgeport Hospital, including the one in critical condition.

Amtrak said its service remained suspended indefinitely between New York and New Haven.

Investigators are looking at a broken section of rail to see if it is connected to the derailment and collision. Officials said it wasn't clear if the rail was broken in the crash or earlier. NTSB investigators arrived Saturday and are expected to be on site for seven to 10 days.

On Monday, Metro-North used 120 buses to help rail commuters make their way around the accident site.

David Cox, a 52-year-old human resources manager from Waterbury, said his bus ride from Bridgeport to Stamford took 1 ½ hours, making his entire one-way trip about 3 ½ hours, an hour longer than normal.

"It's something you have to live with and you just make do," he said, after boarding the train for the final leg of his commute. "You can't get upset over it."

Jim Cameron, chairman of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, said Monday's commute went remarkably well and Interstate 95, the major thoroughfare in the region, was not "carmaggedon."

"I think people heeded the governor's scary warning last night to avoid this if they could. I'm concerned about tomorrow because if people are able to work at home their boss might say, 'Well come on in today,'" he said.

The last major collision involving Metro-North occurred in 1988 when a train engineer was killed in Mount Vernon, N.Y., when one train empty of passengers rear-ended another, railroad officials said.

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