Officials push for increased rail safety on 50th anniversary of deadly Darien crash

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Local officials are pushing for increased rail safety on the 50th anniversary of the deadly Darien train crash.

Four people died in that crash and 43 others were injured.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal was in New Haven Tuesday urging rail lines to implement Positive Train Control to prevent future accidents.

Positive Train Control is designed to slow trains down automatically if they're going too fast. It is life-saving technology that has been around for a decade and it's supposed to have been implemented across U.S. rail lines by 2015.

In Connecticut, Metro-North has Positive Train Control implemented on just 3% of its tracks, and is on pace to have it on 10% by the year 2020. That's the federal mandated deadline for rail lines to implement Positive Train Control.

Blumenthal says Metro-North has a long way to go, but can get it done.

"All that's lacking is the will and resources. It's an investment that has to be made in the interest of safety and economics on the busiest rail corridor in the whole United States," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal and members of the National Transportation Safety Board said they are demanding quarterly reports from Metro-North to update progress railroad is getting with Positive Train Control implementation.

Sen. Tony Hwang told News 12 having the technology installed is one thing, but failing to implement it is another.

"We have to raise the awareness, demand greater accountability, greater transparency, and ultimately, a greater sense of urgency to realize Positive Train Control needs to be implemented to save lives," Hwang said.

Jennifer Homendy is a board member for the NTSB, visiting different commuter rails around the country with one message in regards to Positive Train Control: Finish the job.

"I don't want to be the member on scene where I have to look at a family member, and we brief the family members, and explain to them that the loss of life was 100% preventable," said Homendy. "I don't want to investigate another Positive Train Control-preventable crash."

The MTA released a statement saying, "The MTA agrees on the need for full implementation of PTC and remains committed to the systemwide rollout of this technology. We appreciate that the NTSB and Sen. Blumenthal are using this moment to bring continued focus on this vital technology."

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