LIRR Train Driver Cabs to Get Safety Cameras

LIRR Train Driver
A lone passenger boards a Long Island Rail Road train in Long Beach (Joe Abate).

Long Island Rail Road train engineering booths will soon be fitted with audio and video recording devices as a safety precaution after a recent fatal Metro-North Railroad derailment, MTA officials said.

It’s too early to say how much it will cost to hire a company to design, manufacture and deliver outward- and inward-facing on-board video recording systems on all locomotives and 926 LIRR rail car cabs as well as 843 Metro-North cabs, according to a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the parent agency for the nation’s two largest commuter railroads.

“The MTA is committed to safe operations at all its agencies,” MTA CEO Thomas Prendergast said Wednesday in a statement announcing the plan.

The MTA is issuing a Request for Proposals for companies to bid on the contract that will both follow up on a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation and is a part of the state transit agency’s safety upgrade plan after a Bronx train crash killed four in December.

The cameras would both deter bad behavior on the part of train operators and provide evidence for train accident investigators when incidents occur on either rail system.

The announcement came a day after U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer called on the Federal Railroad Authority (FRA) to review LIRR safety measures to ensure problems the FRA found with Metro-North haven’t spread.

Before the crash, LIRR and Metro-North railroads had contacted a $428 million project to install trains with Positive Train Control technology that automatically applies the brakes ahead of curves in the event of human failure, among other things.