Metro-North Transit Adventures

My Photos: Metro-North’s First Fatal Derailment at Spuyten Duyvil

I haven’t updated this blog over the past couple days because I have been trying to decide the best way to react and whether to post the photos I’ve taken of the derailment that happened last  Sunday Morning. I’ve decided to since it seems like a topic that my website should cover (although I’m not a news organization) and the fact that I’ve already covered Metro-North’s other major incidents this year: Around the train crash in Bridgeport, CSX Garbage Train Derailment just west of the Spuyten Duyvil Station, and the New Haven Line Power Outage. I will go ahead with this post of my adventures to look at the derailment this past Sunday. Amazingly it only took the MTA two days to restore service (single tracking on Wednesday) and it appears that today (on Friday) train service is back completely to normal.

The accident killed 35-year-old Kisook Ahn of Queens, 59-year-old James M. Ferrari of Montrose, 58-year-old James G. Lovell of Cold Spring, and 54-year-old Donna L. Smith of Newburgh, who lost their lives while riding one of the most safest forms of transportation (your much safer on a train than driving a car) after their engineer went into a hypnosis-like “daze”, asleep at the throttle and the more primitive dead man’s petal on the Metro-North Cab Cars didn’t wake him up, unlike the buzzer that would have sounded if the train had been in pull mode driven from the cab, while operating the long (and I’m sure monotonous when your an engineer that does it every day) non-stop express run down from Tarrytown into Grand Central on the 5:54am train from Poughkeepsie (the second departure of the day).

Early Sunday morning I was in the car driving back from Syracuse listening to NPR and hear first simply “A Metro-North train has derailed in the Bronx” from the newsreader. As the couple of hours went by it became more serious with “A Metro-North train has derailed, fatalities have been reported, the train isn’t in the water” and finally breaking to a reporter nearby. I then started reading up on things on my iPhone and started seeing the first images. This made me decide I would definitely go for a walk through Inwood Hill Park where I knew I would be offered great views of the train from across the river. I also started checking on Amtrak and it appeared service was running.

That afternoon I went for a walk and started off heading through Fort Tryon Park and then up towards the Dyckman Street Ballfields to enter Inwood Hill Park. First I noticed the gate up from Dyckman Street to the Amtrak tracks near the Inwood interlocking was open. I started walking into the park and noticed a train sitting there waiting to cross the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, I arrived at about 2:18pm. At first I thought it was a normal Empire Service train with a Amfleet-I Coach/Cafe car at the rear of the train. I then noticed the cars were a mix of short-distance Amfleet-Is and Long-Distance Amfleet-IIs, the normal configuration of the Maple Leaf (The Adirondack has the cafe car in the middle of the train, normally its branded Northeast Regional). I later learned that this train had been stuck here for 7 hours! It almost immediately started moving, very slowly to cross the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge and head up the Hudson (it arrived in Toronto at 2:50AM):

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At the edge of Inwood Hill Park, where I took the just above photo of the Maple Leaf heading up the Hudson River, you really couldn’t see the derailment, the bridge blocking the view. I walked up into Inwood Hill Park and started getting views of the train through the trees, I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, just how close to the water on the reads the train was positioned. There was also news media everywhere (some television) and some large telephoto cameras getting their pictures across the water:

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I wanted to walk over to the entrance to the pedestrian path of the Henry Hudson Bridge and found it closed (with a generic closed due to inclement weather sign), I guess the MTA was trying to avoid turning the pedestrian path into a media walkway and show:



I then found a Locomotive waiting to enter the crash site (when allowed by the NTSB) to retrieve the Shoreliner Cars that were still on the tracks:

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I was at a different part of the park when Southbound Empire Service Train #250 passed around 3:00pm, this train is also over 6 and a half hours late scheduled to arrive in New York Penn Station at 8:50am (instead of 3:22pm)!

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I kept walking (and some more Amtrak trains went over the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge) but I was closer to Indian Neck on that side of the park getting photos of the derailment and the Spuyten Duyvil Station from different angles, some more photos:

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