New York railroad workers may have heard that on March 18, four people were taken to a hospital in Kentucky after a two-train collision occurred. The two trains were traveling just north of Lexington when they collided with each other at about 11 p.m., causing both locomotives and 13 train cars to derail and catch fire.
There are a number of specific government regulations that work to protect whistleblowing workers in New York and Connecticut from retaliation, especially in industries like airlines, subways, trucking, financial or environmental management. For example, for people who work in the subway, the National Transit Systems Security Act provides protection for whistleblowers. The same is true for merchant marine seamen, who receive protection under the Seaman's Protection Act or railway workers, protected by the Federal Rail Safety Act . Because of the importance of these systems for the safety of the public, it is especially important that whistleblowers who highlight dangers are shielded from retaliation.
The Long Island Rail Road is facing calls from community activists to cut ties with its freight rail operator after laborers filed a lawsuit alleging they were subjected to illegal and dangerous working conditions. The lawsuit, filed against New York & Atlantic Railway, asserts that the company hired day laborers with no training to perform hazardous track maintenance.
Railroads operating passenger trains or transporting hazardous cargo in Connecticut have until the end of 2018 to complete installations of Positive Train Control. This crash-prevention technology automatically applies brakes to avoid high-speed derailments or collisions with other trains. Congress had already extended the original 2015 deadline to complete the safety upgrades, and, according to the Government Accountability Office, two-thirds of 29 commuter railroads appear likely to miss the extended deadline.
New York and Atlantic Railway (NYAR) has been under scrutiny before for putting both their workers and commuters on the rails at risk, and it looks like there is a reason for concern once again.
Residents of Connecticut who take the train regularly may know about the crash on Feb. 4 between an Amtrak train and a CSX train that took place in South Carolina. Another accident took place on June 10, 2017, when a Long Island Rail Road train struck and killed a roadway worker in Queens Village, New York. An ongoing investigation into these two accidents has prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to issue three urgent recommendations for improving railway safety.