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Schumer Calls For Hot Weather Upgrades To Mass Transit Systems

Last Week's Heat Wave Brought A Number Of Issues For Commuters
Sen. Charles Schumer holds a press conference at Grand Central Terminal, July 21, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Sen. Charles Schumer holds a press conference at Grand Central Terminal, July 21, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Sen. Charles Schumer has called for a review of the region’s mass transit rail systems so upgrades can be implemented.

In a press release, New York’s senior senator said last week’s heat wave highlighted the need to strengthen the equipment and make the transit systems more resilient.

Schumer has called on a number of federal agencies to review the infrastructure so necessary funding for improvements can be included in next year’s federal Transportation Reauthorization bill.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve had a rash of derailments and other types of trouble caused by the recent heat wave,” Schumer told reporters gathered at Grand Central Terminal. “At least three of those malfunctions in July were linked to the very high temperatures that we’ve had.”

During last week’s heat wave, there were a number of mass transit disruptions, likely due to the heat. On Wednesday, sagging wires and track issues snarled the evening commute on the LIRR, NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak.

Then on Thursday, a freight train derailed while traveling along the Metro-North Hudson line tracks in the Bronx. Service remains suspended.

Schumer wants the Transportation Research Board and National Transportation Safety Board to look into the impacts of the changing climate on railroad infrastructure, especially vulnerable electric wires, transformers, and tracks to determine what changes need to be made.

“There’s no question the climate’s getting warmer and the heat-related incidents are increasing. We shouldn’t just twiddle our thumbs, particularly in a palce like New York where we’re so dependent on mass transit,” said Schumer.

Schumer said some of the equipment is nearly a century old, particularly on the New Haven line.

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