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asked town supervisor Carl Fulgenzi. [25] To facilitate this, the ends of the third rails adjacent to grade crossings have a slight upturn. Two, acting chairman Robert Sumwalt and T. Bella Dinh-Zarr,[13]:69–70 concurred with the report's findings; Sumwalt joined Dinh-Zarr's statement. But now New York crash officials confirm that the death toll has risen to six persons. [13]:73–75, "It is as important or, perhaps more important, to ask how the SUV ended up within the crossing gates", Weener also wrote, addressing a number of other issues he felt the board should have considered. "Many of these communities only exist because people are able to travel into the city for work and fun and to see family," said The Rev. [8][9] At the controls was Stephen Smalls, a 32-year-old resident of Orange County, a three-year Metro-North employee. Metro-North service resumed the next morning, with delays of 15 minutes for trains to slow down at the accident site. According to the NTSB, the MTA reported success in reaching a population with the OLI material that had rarely, if at all, been exposed to it before. Six people died and 12 were injured in a massive fireball that erupted when a packed Metro-North train smashed into an SUV that was sitting on the tracks in Westchester County Tuesday night. On February 3, 2015, at about 6:26 pm eastern standard time, in Valhalla, New York, northbound Metro-North (MN) passenger train 659 consisting of eight electrically powered M-7 railcars, struck a 2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 sports utility vehicle (SUV) at the Commerce Street grade crossing on the Harlem line, resulting in a fire to the SUV and lead railcar (MN 4333). Since the first car was so badly damaged, they collected samples of seat covers, wall panels and light lenses from the second car. [13]:37–38, The accident drew some commentary on what it said about the nature of suburban life in central Westchester County, where many communities owe not only their original development but their continuing affluence to the commuter rail service of Metro-North and its predecessors. The train was occupied by 2 crew members and approximately 650 passengers at the time of the accident. "[L]ife 'in the country' increasingly replicates the ills of the city left behind. Then the car moved forward, 30 seconds after the gate had come down on her car, investigators determined later. County Executive Rob Astorino, who said his commute takes him through that area, called the intersections and turns "very confusing for drivers". It added to its website a page developed in conjunction with Operation Lifesaver (OLI), an organization that works to promote rail safety among the public, particularly at grade crossings. January 2-31: White Plains Restaurant Month, The Greek Orthodox Church of Our Saviour Preschool Registration, WhatsApp Privacy Settings: What You Need To Know, According To Consumer Reports, Coronavirus: Infections Continue To Rise In Westchester, 5 Open Houses Coming Up In The White Plains Area. Investigative reporter Tom Zambito discusses the Valhalla train crossing accident and pending lawsuits as the one year anniversary of the incident approaches. VALHALLA, N.Y. (AP) — Investigators are looking at such potential factors as highway traffic and rail signals as they seek to understand a fiery commuter train wreck in suburban New York. [13]:58–61, Enforcement efforts supplemented the education and public outreach. While none of the third rail components showed any sign of electrical arcing, there was some localized burn damage on some segments. Andrew Burton/Getty Images Show More Show Less 25 of 26 Personnel from various agencies work the scene of a deadly commuter train accident in Valhalla, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. It is not known yet why he was on the tracks. From 100 feet (30 m), the horn's volume was measured at 93.5 decibels (dB), 50.5 dB louder than ambient noise level inside the Mercedes, much higher than the 13 dB level above ambient recommended by ISO 7731 for audibility of emergency signals and warnings. [13]:39–40, "As the train went on you just heard more of the metal against metal. [13]:54–55 Nevertheless, in May 2015, the state Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) adjusted the preemptions at the scene to give proper precedence to the crossing circuit when activated and extended the green signal for traffic on Commerce from the existing 2–10-second range, to 29 seconds, followed by four seconds of yellow, to allow even long vehicles like tractor trailers to clear the crossing. The train was towed to Metro-North's North White Plains yard after 6 p.m., and workers proceeded to repair the damaged third rail. [49], Investigators said they were particularly interested in one of the crash's unusual aspects. [13]:43–44, Smalls went back into the burning train several times to rescue passengers. The 3rd rail detached, pierced the SUV, entering the first railcar in two locations from the underside at the aft end of the left side passenger doorway. "[Brody] made a tragic error," she said. But with Brody dead, that was impossible. "Normally you'd expect the train to sweep the car off the tracks," he said. He also said he and his coworkers often complained about how quickly the train came after the gates went down, gates which had been installed after a 1984 crash killed a van driver. "[49] George Bibel, author of Train Wreck: The Forensics of Rail Disasters, agreed that this is uncommon. He offered his own explanation: that she "simply did not realize she was on or near railroad tracks" despite the signs and pavement markings. Those were outweighed, in his opinion, by her unfamiliarity with the neighborhood, the fact that the crossing was unlit beyond the warning lights, and the distraction created by the bumper-to-bumper traffic along the Commerce detour. [19], At the head of the train, Smalls told investigators he first noticed something reflecting light from within the crossing when it was 1,200 feet (370 m) ahead. All of the dead train passengers worked in Manhattan; three of them worked in finance, and two of them at the same firm. [13]:58–61[13]:61–63, While the NTSB investigated and prepared its report, the town conducted a traffic study to determine whether the Commerce Street crossing should be closed, also considering doing the same for the Cleveland Street crossing in downtown Valhalla, just south of the station, reducing the amount of grade crossings along the line to two within two miles (3.2 km) from four,[13]:58–61 the most of any town in the county. "People died, but you can't close crossings that have been working perfectly fine since I've been in this town for 52 years. Were drivers adequately educated that the barriers were designed to break if they needed to get out of a crossing in a hurry, or that they should continue forward with greater speed from the crossing in that situation rather than back up, much as they are trained to do when a green light turns yellow as they enter an intersection? Shortly afterwards she apparently reached the site of the road accident at the Lakeview intersection and took the detour for reasons unknown. Witnesses described the driver of the SUV as being stopped in the crossing prior to the gates lowering. [14] Damage was estimated at $3.7 million. One detour available to northbound traffic involved using Lakeview Avenue and turning at the large Kensico Cemetery, a short distance to the west. The driver of the SUV was also fatally injured. Most were from passengers injured or killed, including the Brody family, all alleging negligence. The Feb. 3, 2015 Metro-North crash lives on for those who witnessed it. "I remember hoping and praying it wasn't anyone I knew. At the grade crossing, a sport utility vehicle (SUV) driven by Ellen Brody of nearby Edgemont was caught between the crossing gates when they descended onto the rear of her car as the train approached from the south. A Metro-North train that had departed from the busy Grand Central Station in Manhattan at 5:45 in the evening on Tuesday rammed into a car on the tracks in Valhalla, a suburb of New York City. "She wasn't in a hurry at all, but she had to have known that a train was coming." [13]:53–54, Passengers in the center and rear were able to use the emergency exits as intended to escape the car since the rear door was jammed by a section of third rail that had gone through it. It also recommended that the Federal Transit Administration notify all the other railroads and require them to carry out the risk assessment, as well as the correction of any deficiencies identified. Jamie Wallace, in the second car, said that passengers there initially tried to come to the aid of those in the front car, but "we could not get the head car doors open for some reason - it was jammed." The lead railcar was carrying an estimated 20 passengers at the time of the accident and there were five confirmed passenger fatalities, all from the first railcar and 13 passengers reported to have injuries. "However, speculation does not serve those affected by this accident or further the investigation. On the evening of February 3, 2015, a commuter train on Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line struck a passenger car at a grade crossing near Valhalla, New York, United States, between the Valhalla and Mount Pleasant stations, killing six people and injuring 15 others, seven very seriously. [13]:46–50, The investigators also considered whether Brody had been able to hear or see the train coming. Valhalla train crash Last updated March 17, 2020. "So this has hit us at a place that is just integral to our existence, and therefore in a place where we are very, very vulnerable. The crossing gates descended, warning lights began flashing and, according to Hope, bells began ringing. The Valhalla station is a commuter rail stop on the Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line, located in Valhalla, New York.Trains leave or arrive approximately every 20 minutes during peak periods, hourly otherwise, to Mount Kisco, Southeast or Grand Central Terminal.It is 25.5 miles (41.0 km) from Grand Central Terminal and travel time there is approximately 41 minutes. But he pointed out that among the unknowns were whether Brody knew the impact to her car was from the descending barrier—she could have just as easily thought it could have been Hope's vehicle, he observed, and gone out to check—and whether she had adequate time and space to back up into the space Hope created. The NTSB team believed the crossing was functioning properly, but was aware also that the earlier accident on the Taconic had led to more traffic through it. There's a bank there that always collects water, making it even more dangerous." It found that the failure of the third rail to break into smaller segments contributed to the fatalities on the train; while the report ruled out proposed explanations for Brody's behavior such as the placement of her car's gear shift lever, it could not offer any of its own. Using a similar 2011 ML350, they measured the volume of the train horn at the distances where she might have been able to get out of the train's way. In addition, the driver stopping within the crossing and leaving the vehicle during the warning period, the third rail penetrating the passenger car, and the post-accident fire were all found to be contributing factors. First responders work at the scene of a train accident on Feb. 3, 2015, in Valhalla, New York. The movement resulted in damage to the electrified 3rd rail. One local shopkeeper, a 30-year resident, told The New York Times that she would never ride the front car of any train, ever. [5] The next such crossing was Commerce Street, a lightly traveled local road to the north that intersects the tracks diagonally. Try HelloFresh Today And Get $90 Off Your First Box! [13]:46–50 Video by John Meore/The Journal News The firefighters were, however, able to suppress the fire before it had seriously affected the second car. [13]:51–53, Those simulations showed that the rail's splice bars would have required high deformation levels before breaking when bent in an upwards direction. Filmed versions ran before movies. [51][g], While the crossing had undergone upgrades in recent years, including brighter lights and an additional sign warning passing drivers not to stop on the tracks, in 2009 another upgrade, which would have added a sign with flashing lights 100–200 feet (30–61 m) up the road west of the tracks was not installed. On the evening of February 3, 2015, a commuter train on Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line struck a passenger car at a grade crossing near Valhalla, New York, United States, between the Valhalla and Mount Pleasant stations, killing six people and injuring 15 others, seven very seriously. Is not known valhalla train accident today why he was on the tracks passengers at the crossing... Four members of the gate as it descended, warning lights began flashing and, according Hope! It up puts it in reverse walk to the electrified 3rd rail [ 5 the! And fatalities the five passengers aboard the train 's front car, investigators they. Showed that train was traveling at 58 miles valhalla train accident today hour ( mph ) prior to the gates lowering largely borne! Way she could have been less severe or avoided entirely her room to do the same to the... To car traffic on the approach to the local roads would be unable accommodate... 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