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Preliminary Investigation: Metro-North Worker Killed By Train Strayed From Protected Area

Worker Identified As James Romansoff, 58
Park Avenue and East 106th Street, where a Metro-North worker was struck and killed March 10, 2014. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

Park Avenue and East 106th Street, where a Metro-North worker was struck and killed March 10, 2014. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Metro-North worker was struck and killed by a train while working on the tracks overnight.

The railroad said it happened at 12:54 a.m. Monday at Park Avenue and East 106th Street. The employee, identified as James Romansoff, 58, of Yonkers, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

About 50 passengers were on board the train, the 12:47 a.m. from Grand Central Terminal bound for Poughkeepsie. The passengers were placed on another train and resumed their trip at 2:17 a.m.

The accident caused disruptions for about two hours.

The incident is being investigated by Metro-North and MTA police. But preliminary findings indicate Romansoff went beyond a protected work zone while restoring power to the section of the track, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also looking into the incident, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

“I was shocked and very dismayed to hear about this, it’s a horrible, tragic situation,” Arthur Davidson, general chairman of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers System Council 7, told 1010 WINS.

Sen. Charles Schumer, speaking to reporters at Grand Central Terminal on Monday, said there has been a disturbing pattern with Metro-North.

Last May, a track foreman was killed in West Haven. Conn., and in December, four people were killed when a train derailed in the Bronx.

“Collisions, power failures, derailments, injuries and even deaths,” said Schumer, D-N.Y.

“Something is wrong in the culture of safety.”

As of March 1, a new safety protocol designed to prevent such fatal incidents went into effect.

The Enhanced Employee Protection System prevents dispatchers from sending trains through when employees are working on the tracks until a specific code is received.

“We believe it will set a new standard for the railroad industry,” spokeswoman Marjorie Anders told The Journal News before the system went into effect.

The EEP system “takes the human error out of the equation,” Anthony Bottalico with the Association of Commuter Rail Employees told The Journal News.

Asked if the new safety protocols were being followed in Monday’s accident, an MTA spokesperson told Haskell that Metro-North does follow its procedures.

The union represents 1,700 Metro-North employees.

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