The NJ Transit operations will be investigated by authorities following the September crash which killed a woman and injured 100 more passengers.
On September 29, technicians lost control of a commuter train which went off tracks and killed a woman who was on the platform, injured over 100 more, and caused damages to the station.
Following the accident, the NJ station was fully closed for a period of times so that repairs could be made. A partial reopening of its non-affected terminals followed a few days after the accident.
As of October 21, the NJ Transit operations will be looked into as the Legislature has sent a joint committee that will question railroad executives on a number of registered issues.
Repeated safety violations and procedures will be amongst the discussed problems, as well as the potential reasons for the station’s fall from being the country’s public transportation system “jewel”.
The joint committee will be assembled from representatives of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
According to the committee’s chairman, although a regulatory reform is unlikely, NJ Transit operation could still suffer changes as the company is part and receives funding from the State Department of Transportation.
The NJ Transit could go through a number of state efforts to reform its funding, management structure, and also the employee trainings if these areas are proven to be ineffective or unsafe.
The committee will attempt to find out what happened and what went wrong and caused the accident, and if the cause is more likely related to an error in operations or in management techniques.
Amongst the touched upon issues, the joint investigation will seek to determine the results of an audit initiated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) back in June and which targeted the NJ Transit operations.
Another point of the investigation will be the number of 76 safety violations registered through the last seven years time period and which NJ Transit reportedly settled by paying $465,000 to the FRA.
The drastic cut of the utility improvements funds will also be analyzed. According to reports, NJ Transit received from its administration a 2015 budget of $33 million, much of which would have targeted the improvement of the rolling stock, tracks, tunnels, and bridges, significantly smaller than the 2009 $348 million sum.
As the NJ Transit used to be a leader in terms of technology, the station now seems to be falling behind and also failing to complete the installation of a potentially life-saving system.
The Positive Train Control (PTC), which has already been installed throughout the country, is a complex system that gets installed on tracks and train locomotives. The PTC uses the sensors attached to these utilities in order to determine and regulate the speed of a train.
According to the committee, which is set to start by questioning witnesses and officials, they will have a wide range of subjects and issues to cover in order to reach a conclusion regarding the NJ Transit operations.
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