Camera on the train tracks

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and New York Sen. Charles Schumer say trains should be outfitted with cameras pointed at engineers and at the tracks.

NEW YORK — A week after four people died in a New York commuter train derailment, two federal lawmakers proposed Sunday that trains nationwide be outfitted with cameras pointed at engineers and at the tracks.

"I know you're going to hear from Metro-North that there are costs, but the costs of these audio and visual recorders is minuscule, Preserver Series in fact negligible, compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars that this tragic incident will cost Metro-North in the end," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut who joined New York Sen. Charles Schumer for a news conference at Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal.

Last Sunday, a Metro-North Railroad train approached a curve on the tracks just north of Manhattan going at 82 mph instead of the speed limit of 30 mph. Rail cars careened off the tracks, with the front car ending up inches from the water where the Hudson River meets the Harlem River.

A lawyer and union leader for the derailed train's engineer, William Rockefeller, have said the train's hypnotic motion may have caused him to experience a "nod" or a "daze" at the controls.

The Democratic lawmakers are urging the Federal Railroad Administration to demand the implementation of a measure they say might prevent the kind of deadly Metro-North derailment that also left dozens of people injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board first recommended installation of the audio and video recording cameras in locomotives and operating railway cabs five years ago.

The NTSB did not immediately respond to a call for comment on Sunday, nor did the railroad administration or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that runs Metro-North.

Schumer said fatigue was suspected in two collisions — one in Iowa, in 2011 and another in Newton, Mass., in 2008 — and might have been proven if cameras were present. He said such images might have caught behavior patterns that could have been prevented in the future.

"Get on board and implement these recommendations now," Schumer said, directing his comments to the Federal Railroad Administration, which has the power to demand the changes. The railroad administration has yet to take any regulatory action putting these recommendations in place.

"Shame on Metro-North for failing to adopt this system," Blumenthal said Casing Otterbox Commuter. "Shame on the operators of this railroad for failing to move forward with a recommendation that is so cost effective. Keep people alive."

The NTSB's recommendation for the monitoring program followed a train collision in California that killed 25 people, including the engineer, and injured more than 130. The NTSB said the engineer's texting was the primary cause of the accident.

In a letter this week to the NTSB, the two senators noted that "in the wake of a 2008 railway collision in California, the NTSB recommended inward facing cameras, which would monitor train crew performance, as well as outward facing cameras, which would be used to monitor crossing accidents and to recognize any deficiencies on the tracks."

Schumer and Blumenthal said they believe such recording devices "may be used as a deterrent for dangerous behavior, OtterBox Defender like falling asleep or texting, and may also be used after a rail crash to determine the cause of the crash."

Amtrak locomotives and California's Metrolink commuter rail have outward facing cameras that record signals and gate crossings.
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Properties of Anglo Irish bank executives contact

FIANNA FÁIL HAS called on the Taoiseach to explain the nature of contact with Anglo Irish Bank executives during 2008, nu skin product just months before the bank was nationalised.

Details of a number of emails between Enda Kenny and Matt Moran, the then-chief financial officer were published in today’s Sunday Independent.

Leaders of the Opposition party, Michéal Martin claimed that the reports show that Kenny was in “proactive contact with senior management of the bank to brief them on government strategy towards Anglo”.

The suggestion has been dismissed as “ridiculous” by Fine Gael TD and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald this afternoon.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, she said, “The idea of the leader of the opposition – which is what he was then – was in a position to brief or give confidential information to Anglo (when the government barely knew what it was doing in relation to Anglo) is ridiculous.”

She added that the focus of today’s series of articles should be that former Fianna Fáil TD Beverly Flynn was a “conduit” to Anglo, nuskin passing information from the then-Minister of Finance Brian Lenihan to Moran, who is from the same area of Mayo as the two politicians.

A government spokesperson also denied the claims.

“Any contacts between Fine Gael and the banks during the banking crisis were aimed at highlighting the impact that the continuing uncertainty about the banking system and its impact on credit availability was having on businesses and jobs,” the government said in a statement.

In a statement this morning, Martin said the revelations were a “very serious development” given that the Taoiseach had talked about a “axis of collusion” in the Dáil when the Anglo Tapes were released in recent weeks.

“This morning, the Taoiseach is left red-faced as it emerges that he was actually engaged in personal informal contact with Anglo senior management,” he continued. “This morning’s revelations also suggest that the Taoiseach deliberately misled the Dáil in response to the Anglo Tape story nuskin group, when he talked about his personal contact with Anglo. The only example he cited was a meeting in September 2008.

“Another question which arises is where Mr Kenny received the information he was passing on to Anglo. If it was based on confidential briefings from the Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, it raises further questions about Mr Kenny’s behaviour.

“Unlike Mr Kenny, Fianna Fáil is committed to due process nu skin hk. The Taoiseach needs to make a comprehensive statement explaining the revelations in the media report and he needs to do so immediately.”
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The operation of the rural transport plan

EARLIER TODAY THE government announced a major restructuring of the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) that will reduce the number of companies running services.

The programme, which was established in 2007, Art Culture was described by the Department of Transport today as having a “very poor organisational structure with exceptionally high administration costs”.

It is currently run by 35 independent companies and Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly said today that this will now be reduced to 18 ‘Transport Co-Ordination Units’. These units will be based in local authorities and will co-ordinate the running of transport services within the area.

Kelly said they will become a “go-to” point for rural communities to address their transport needs and will be staffed by personnel from the existing companies currently in operation.

Access to transport is a major quality of life issue – especially for elderly people Limited company Hong Kong. This will give a lifeline to many communities in tackling the very serious problem of rural isolation and represents a major overhaul of the Rural Transport Programme but one that will lead to major improvements.

The new units will also be responsible for maintaining databases of people in rural areas with specific transport needs.

The announcement was met with skepticism by opposition TDs with Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley saying it seemed to him that cutting the amount of companies will result in a reduction in the current service provided.

“I hope this is not a cynical attempt by the government to sneak cuts into the service,” he said. “If, in fact, funding is to be cut and the service reduced Asian college of knowledge management, the government needs to be upfront on this.”
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