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MTA To Install Cameras, Audio Recorders On Metro-North, LIRR Trains

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Wednesday that it plans to install video cameras and audio recorders on most Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road trains.

The move is in response to safety recommendations put forward by the National Transportation Safety Board following a December derailment that killed four people in the Bronx, the MTA said.

“We will be systematically implementing recommendations put forward by the NTSB and other regulators to ensure the best practices are adhered to throughout the MTA family,” MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast said.

The MTA said it intends to put out a request for proposal. Prospective vendors will be asked to design and manufacture an on-board video recording system for its newest cars and all locomotives.

Transportation officials say the purpose of the cameras is to aid post-accident investigations and to deter behaviors that could adversely affect the trains’ safe operation.

Both railroads also are working together to procure and quickly install positive train control technology, which is designed to automatically stop or slow a train before certain accidents occur, the MTA said.

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal called the MTA’s plan to install cameras “long overdue.”

“But I want to see acts and not just plans and dates certain by when it will be implemented,” he said.

Metro-North has acknowledged repeatedly that 2013 was its worst year in memory. A derailment in Bridgeport in May injured dozens of people and another in the Bronx on Dec. 1 left four people dead.

A power outage in September forced Metro-North to reduce service for nearly two weeks, infuriating passengers and forcing many to take to their cars on crowded Connecticut highways to avoid Metro-North.

“Safety must come first at Metro-North,” the railroad’s president Joseph Giulietti said earlier this month. “Safety was not the top priority. It must be and it will be.”

The LIRR and Metro-North collectively average more than 580,000 customers per day in New York and Connecticut.

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