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NTSB: Track Inspection Found Problems 2 Days Before Metro-North Crash

Parts Of Rail In Washington For Further Examination
Trains following a collision on Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line - May 17, 2013 (credit: Fairfield PD)

Trains following a collision on Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line – May 17, 2013 (credit: Fairfield PD)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Two days before a Metro-North train derailed in Connecticut last month and injured more than 70 people a track inspection found problems where the derailment occurred, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

The inspection on May 15 found an insulated rail joint with inadequate supporting ballast and indications of vertical movement of the track system, the NTSB said Wednesday.

Sections of rail in the area of the derailment containing rail joint bars were removed and shipped to a lab in Washington for further examination, the NTSB said.

PHOTOS: Conn. Train Collision | Crews Repair Damaged Track

Marjorie Anders, a Metro-North spokeswoman, said the ballast is loose stone and the railroad constantly makes sure it’s packed tightly so the track doesn’t go up and down slightly when a train passes. She said the inspection noted the issue but it wasn’t deemed an immediate problem.

The NTSB had previously said a joint bar, used to hold two sections of rail together, had been cracked and repaired while a rail spokesman said it was replaced.

Metro-North railroad is conducting an inspection and inventory of all the joint bars on its main tracks.

About 700 people were on board the trains May 17 when one heading east from Grand Central Terminal to New Haven derailed just outside Bridgeport.

It was hit then by a train heading west from New Haven to Grand Central on an adjacent track, MTA officials said. Some cars on the second train also derailed as a result of the collision.

The crash injured 72 people and snarled the commutes for roughly 30,000 people who normally use the train, forcing travelers to navigate a patchwork of cars, trains and buses.

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