Metro-North to introduce track monitoring system

New York’s Metro-North Railroad has announced plans to invest in an on-board track monitoring system.

It is hoped the monitoring software, which will be fitted to Metro-North trains to check that the track conforms to legal safety requirements, will prevent incidents like the Spuyten Duyvil derailment which led to the deaths of four passengers in December last year.

In March, the Federal Railroad Authority (FRA) published a report recommending sweeping reforms across Metro-North’s training and staff assessment procedures. Metro-North was also required to create a more robust track inspection programme.

Since the derailment, Metro-North has also moved forward with creating a new confidential close-call reporting system, installing cameras on all trains and fast-tracking plans to develop an Automatic Train Control (ATC) system for the network.

The monitoring system will check the track gauge, curvature, height and overall alignment of the track for irregularities.

“Metro-North’s first task is to improve safety on the railroad by all means, including using the latest technology,” said Metro-North president Joseph Giulietti.

“We want to know before normal wear and tear turns into a failure. Continuous monitoring of joints and the surface of the rails themselves will keep us on top of maintenance.”

Metro-North is tendering for four different units to fit to its four different vehicle class.

The monitoring software will operate alongside a new semi-annual inspection process that will be carried out using a track geometry car.