Commuter advocate to address NC Senior Men
Published 11:58 am, Friday, July 31, 2015
The state of Metro-North Railroad’s service in the wake of a major service crisis will be the topic of a Senior Men’s Club of New Canaan talk next week by Jim Cameron, the former chairman of the state’s rail watchdog group.
Cameron, a Darien resident and former chairman of the state Connecticut Metro-North Rail Commuter Council, will speak to the group Friday, Aug. 7, at 10 a.m. at Morrill Hall, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 111 Oenoke Ridge Road.
“My talk is entitled ‘Metro-North: From First to Worst’ and chronicles the rapid decline in what was once a safe and on-time railroad,” Cameron said. “I try to explain why things went so bad so fast, what’s being done to address those problems and what the prospects are for improved service.”
Cameron served on the Connecticut Metro-North Rail Commuter Council for 19 years, four as chairman. He resigned in late 2013 and later launched a “grass roots” advocacy organization named the Commuter Action Group, which helped direct rider complaints about the railroad during a protracted string of accidents and deaths that resulted in a speed crackdown and dramatic drop in on-time performance.
Among the incidents were major passenger train derailments in Bridgeport and Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx, N.Y., the latter of which killed four passengers; and a string of accidents and mishaps that resulted in the Federal Railroad Administration probing the railroad’s safety deficits.
There were also incidents of railroad workers being killed on the tracks, and a feeder cable issue in Mount Vernon, N.Y., which cut electrical service on the New Haven Line for more than two weeks.
A March 2014 report by the NTSB found Metro-North emphasized on-time performance over safety and maintaining tracks, leading to a “deficient” safety culture, and increased risk to riders.