Program lets Metro-North workers anonymously report safety issues

Metro-North train. (File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– A program that lets railroad workers anonymously report safety issues has been expanded. Metro-North is now part of what’s called the Confidential Close Call Reporting System.

We always here when something goes wrong with a train like a collision, a derailment, but what about things that almost went terribly wrong? Now Metro-North employees can report those, too.

The Federal Railroad Administration called for a confidential reporting system at the end of 2013, the terrible year that had multiple derailments and deaths on Metro North, some on the New Haven line. In 2015, they started the Close Call Reporting System for 1,500 federal DOT employees. Last week, that was expanded to 4,000 Metro North employees. What it means is, when there’s a close call, something almost going terribly wrong, an employee can report it anonymously and that report goes to a panel made up of Metro North, the Railroad Administration, and the unions.

In the past, employees may not have wanted to report close calls because they feared retribution, either from a co-worker who might have been responsible, or from a manager. With a system for anonymous reporting, Metro-North officials say safety will improve, and whatever caused the close call will get fixed before it gets worse and causes an emergency.

Speaking of emergencies, there was a small one on the New Canaan branch of Metro-North Sunday. An empty train hit a small plow truck that got stuck on the tracks on Riverbend Road in Stamford. The driver jumped out before the train hit and no one was hurt.

If you look at the big board, no delays on Metro North Monday morning. It shut down for the storm, but service resumed at 3 p.m. Sunday. I rode the very first train from Grand Central to West Haven and I can tell you the tracks are fine, the switches are all clear. But I will warn you, if you’re heading to the big apple, there is a lot more snow there than here. Bring boots, the intersections especially are messy.

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