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After Turbulent Year, Metro-North President To Step Down

Metro-North President Howard Permut hears complaints from commuters in Westport two years ago.
Metro-North President Howard Permut hears complaints from commuters in Westport two years ago. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari, File Photo

NEW YORK -- Howard Permut, president of Metro-North Railroad, is retiring this month after a difficult year for the commuter railroad, according to the New York Times.

Permut announced his retirement to staff members at a meeting late Monday afternoon, a transit official told the New York Times.

Read the full story here .

In the past year, Metro-North has experienced two derailments -- one with its first fatalities in its 30-year history as well as a three-week service slowdown in October.

In May, a New Haven Line train derailed and collided with a second train heading in the opposite direction along the Fairfield-Bridgeport border. There were no fatalities, but more than 60 people were injured.

Cleanup work and a National Transportation Safety Board investigation kept sections of the New Haven Line closed for days after the derailment. Investigators later found that the accident may have been caused by a damaged rail joint on the track.

Commuters once again had to deal with long-term delays on the New Haven Line after an electrical feeder line experienced heavy damage near Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Sept. 25. The resulting repairs disrupted New Haven Line service for 12 days, prompting Gov. Dannel Malloy and other leaders to push for legal action against Con Edison, which was doing repair work in the area when the damage occurred.

Another train derailed along the Hudson Line in the Bronx on Dec. 1, this time causing four deaths and 63 injuries. Officials believe this derailment was caused by excessive speed as the train moved through a curve.

Metro-North announced that it will make safety improvements across all of its rail lines, including new signals at “critical curves” and increased communication between engineers and conductors.

In mid-December the Federal Rail Administration launched “Operation Deep Dive,” an investigation into Metro-North’s safety record and compliance with federal regulations. The investigation will look at everything from the railroad’s equipment and infrastructure to its policies on employee workloads and certifications.

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