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Federal Agencies To Testify On Rail Safety At Committee Hearing Chaired By Sen. Blumenthal

An M-8 rail car on the Metro-North Railroad's  New Haven line (file/credit: Patrick Cashin/MTA)

An M-8 rail car on the Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven line (file/credit: Patrick Cashin/MTA)

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CONNECTICUT (CBSNewYork) – Federal agencies responsible for rail safety are expected to testify in Washington next week as a local lawmaker calls for stronger penalties for safety violations on the country’s railroads.

As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, when Metro-North track worker Robert Luden was killed on the tracks in West Haven last year, Metro-North was fined $5,000.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) cites Luden’s case as a glaring example of the need for tougher penalties against railroads for safety violations.

“The penalties need to be sizably strengthened so that they’re more than a slap on the wrist, which they have been all too often for Metro-North and other railroads that have violated the basic duty and trust,” the lawmaker said.

Blumenthal said all federal agencies responsible for rail safety will be called before his committee.

He said if they are not empowered to raise the penalties for safety violations, legislation will be enacted to achieve a higher safety standard.

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