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Union Official: Metro-North Rail Road Is Suffering From Safety ‘Brain Drain’

NTSB Probe Into 2 Catastrophic Connecticut Incidents Has Been Pushed Back
A train car on Metro North's New Haven Line (Credit MTA/Metro North)

A train car on Metro North’s New Haven Line (Credit MTA/Metro North)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A union official said Saturday that the Metro-North Rail Road is suffering as it loses many of its most experienced workers who could prevent accidents.

The government shutdown pushed back a National Transportation Safety Board investigative hearing into the death of a Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee and the wreck last spring of a train on the Metro-North New Haven Line in Connecticut.

As WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported, the MTA said it will be ready to respond to any claims at the hearing. Meanwhile, a union representing some MTA workers said a brain drain is a key concern.

Chris Silvera is secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 808, representing track, bridge and building workers. He said the Metro-North is losing a great resource in a wave of retirements, and he said the MTA could have seen the exodus coming.

“When you have done a job for 30 years, 25 years, you have pretty much seen the range of what can go wrong. The hell with what goes good, good is good, you know what I’m saying?” Silvera said. “So they have seen the range of what can go bad, and they needed to be able to pass this on.”

A six-member panel has been appointed to study rail safety by the MTA. But Silvera said the agency is comparable to the Yankees – a great team now aging out.

On May 17, an eastbound train derailed and was struck by a westbound train just outside of Bridgeport, injuring 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor. On May 28, a track foreman was struck and killed by a train in West Haven.

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