NTSB Indicates Track Issues Prior to Bridgeport Train Accident

Jun 2013

Recently, our Bridgeport accident lawyers wrote about the tragic Metro-North train accident that caused injuries and prompted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to launch an investigation. The NTSB has completed its initial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash and the findings show that there may have been advanced warning that the railroad tracks were having problems.

According to the Courant, the investigation is still underway and the exact cause of the derailment has not yet been determined. However, the preliminary information that is coming in does suggest that there may not have been adequate safety measures taken to keep the train safe and avoid injury.

NTSB Report Sheds Light on Bridgeport Train Accident

The Courant reports that the NTSB issued its preliminary report on Wednesday about the Bridgeport train accident. According to the report, an inspection took place two days before the train derailed on the Metro-North’s New Haven line.  The inspection was done on a routine schedule, and a spokesperson for Metro-North indicates that the New Haven line is inspected twice each week by professionals assigned to the area.

These inspectors become very familiar with the tracks, according to the spokesperson, since they look at the same area each time. When the inspection occurred two days prior to the accident, the inspector noted that there was an “insulated rail joint with inadequate supporting ballast and indications of vertical track movement of the track system under load.” In other words, a potential problem with the track was noted on the inspection report.

This problem was not considered serious enough to require immediate attention, according to a Metro-North spokesperson. The inspector indicated on his report that there was not a need for immediate maintenance, as there are some maintenance issues that require the trains to be stopped and others that simply need to be watched but not addressed right away.

Unfortunately, the area where this problem was noted was the same area where the train derailed. While the NTSB was cautious to indicate in its report that the cause of the train derailment has not yet been determined, it is not good news that there was a noted problem on the track at the same area where the train accident occurred.  It would be a very big coincidence if a noted break in the track just happened to be in the same spot where the train derailed but the break did not cause or contribute to the accident.

If, in fact, the NTSB finds that the train accident was caused by this broken area in the track, then the evidence of the earlier inspection report could be a strong indicator that Metro-North was negligent in not repairing the tracks.

Lawsuits have already been filed by victims who were hurt in the crash, claiming that the company is to blame and should thus be required to compensate victims. While Metro-North estimated the damage from the train accident at $18 million, the losses to the injured victims may not be immediately known as sometimes serious injuries are not apparent right after a crash occurs.

If you were injured in a train accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

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