Citing reports that warm weather may have caused a rail “heat kink” that contributed to the derailment, Blumenthal says with temperatures rising the problem will only intensify and must be dealt with.
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In a letter to Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti, Blumenthal wrote “Despite the railroad’s knowledge of the heat kink and the imposition of tougher speed limits, the train flew down the tracks anyway. Clearly, effective operations management broke down. Moreover, positive train control technology – which prevents human error from allowing trains to speed – was absent on the track. That allowed the train to speed unchecked, which caused a near-calamity to occur.”
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Blumenthal is demanding three things. He wants the railroad to explain how it is managing and minimizing foreseeable risk of heat kinks and how it is reforming its operations to ensure trains do not speed. He also wants confirmation that the railroad will meet its implementation deadline for positive train control technology.