Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Electrician Struck and Killed by Metro-North Train

Metro-North is dealing with death on the tracks again. An electrician was killed Monday morning when a train struck him while he was working on tracks in East Harlem. James Romansoff, 58, died at Mount Sinai Hospital after the northbound -bound train hit him around 1 a.m. near 106th Street on the Park Avenue viaduct.
The electrical worker was part of a four-man power department crew that was restoring power to a track that had been taken out of service over the weekend for maintenance.

The train’s engineer sounded his horn and hit the emergency brakes when he unexpectedly came upon the men, who had apparently strayed beyond a protected work zone, but couldn't stop in time.

The death of the 58-year-old Yonkers man is more bad news at a railroad whose image has taken a beating after a year filled with tragic events, including the December derailment in the Bronx of a speeding train that left four dead and more than 70 injured.

A team of National Transportation Safety Board experts is investigating the accident along with the Federal Railway Administration.

It comes as new Metro-North President Joseph Giuletti tries to restore faith in a railroad that also endured the May collision of two Metro-North trains in Connecticut and a string of power outages.

"We're all familiar with the recent history - collisions, power failures, derailments, injuries and even deaths," said Senator Charles Schumer. "All of this on what used to be regarded as the crown jewel of commuter rail in America."

"If there were just one or just two, you might say, 'Well, sometimes bad things happen.' But not with so many," Schumer said.
Romansoff is the second Metro-North worker to be killed on the job in the last year, and his death is the latest blow to a railroad that's under federal order to boost its safety standards.

Mr.Giulietti, offered his condolences to Romansoff's family.

"With our partners at the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, we will re-examine our procedures and protocols to ensure we are performing our jobs with safety as the paramount concern," Giulietti said in a statement.

In May, a Metro-North track foreman, Robert Luden, was killed by a Metro-North train in New Haven, Connecticut.

The MTA has since implemented a safety protocol called the Enhanced Employee Protection System, in which a worker who needs use of a track receives a randomly generated code that must be repeated back to the control center to indicate that the area is ready for service.

The MTA said that while EEPS is in place throughout the system, they could not say whether it was in use when Romansoff was struck, citing the NTSB investigation.

The Federal Railroad Administration is preparing to present its findings from Operation Deep Dive to Congress this week.
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