Federal investigators looking into the death of a Metro-North track worker last month near West Haven issued an “urgent” safety recommendation yesterday, saying the railroad doesn’t use a basic safety device that lets track workers signal when a track should be closed for repairs.
Now Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he wants Congress to look at whether such a device should be required under federal law.
“I was absolutely astonished and appalled that this very simple, feasible, inexpensive device has not been routinely installed by Metro North and other railroads,” said Blumenthal in an interview late Monday. “No passenger or railroad worker should be in danger because a railroad doesn’t install a simple device.”
The former Connecticut attorney general said he’s scheduled a Congressional hearing this week to look into the matter, but Metro North likely won’t testify then. Blumenthal has repeatedly called on the National Transportation Safety Board to finish its investigations faster.
On Monday, he said it’s the investigators who will be on the hot seat this week.
“I think one of the essential obligations of safety watchdogs like the NTSB is to ensure that we learn lessons from tragedies and prevent them from happening,” he said.