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Feds ordering safety changes to Metro-North line after deadly crash

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In the wake of the deadly crash on New York's busy Metro-North commuter railroad, the federal government has ordered the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to make changes to make the line safer.

According to NBC News on Dec. 6, the emergency order from the Federal Railroad Administration requires the MTA to modify the Metro-North line signal system so that it will automatically slow down trains if the engineer fails to do so in places where there is a dramatic speed change.

Also included in the emergency order, two qualified crew members must be in place to operate trains on tracks where the speed limit changes by more than 20 mph.

In the accident on Dec. 1, the train derailed on a sharp curve in the Bronx where the speed limit suddenly changed from 70 mph to 30 mph. According to reports, the train was going 82 mph when it approached the curve. Their was only one engineer in the control cab at the time. Reports said that the engineer "zoned out" and came out of his daze too late to slow down.

Federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told NBC News:

Safety is our highest priority, and we must do everything we can to learn from this tragic crash and help prevent future derailments. While we assist the National Transportation Safety Board in carrying out its investigation, this Emergency Order will help ensure that other Metro-North travel at appropriate, safe speeds.

MTA's Metro-North line is the nation's largest commuter rail system, with 775 miles of track in New York, Connecticut and has more than 80 million riders annually.

Stay tuned.

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