Is it safe to ride Metro-North? I’ve been asked that question by reporters and commuters alike dozens of times in recent weeks. My answer in a moment, after some background.
Days ago the NTSB released its initial report on the cause of the May 17 derailment and subsequent collision of two trains, a report that seemed to fault the railroad, not just our aging tracks. The federal safety agency says that just two days before the accident, a Metro-North inspection identified a problem at the site of the derailment: An insulated joint connecting two sections of track that had insufficient ballast (the large gravel supporting the ties). As trains rolled over the joint, the track moved up and down, straining the joint.