A week after the deadly train derailment at a sharp Bronx curve, the MTA has made improvements for the Metro-North trains that run on that track. MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said, "Metro-North is taking important steps to improve safety for its customers and employees, and I expect the railroad will continue searching for ways to improve its operations and fully restore its commuters' confidence."

According to the MTA, "Signal crews have installed new protections at the Spuyten Duyvil curve, the site of last week's fatal derailment, which will warn train engineers of the approaching speed reduction and will automatically apply the train's emergency brakes if speed is not lowered to the 30 mph maximum in the curve. The signal improvement at Spuyten Duyvil was done simultaneously and in coordination with work to restore track, power and signal systems there after the derailment. Those protections will be operating on all trains by Monday morning."

The derailment on December 1st killed four people and injured over 60 others. The curve at Spuyten Duyvil is nearly 90 degrees, and trains are supposed to be traveling at 30 mph there, but the derailed train was traveling at 82 mph. The train operator apparently "nodded off."

The MTA also says:

By Tuesday morning, all Metro-North trains will enhance communication between train engineers and conductors to ensure trains are operated at safe speeds at four other critical curves as well as at five movable bridges. Conductors will stand with engineers at each train's control cab through the critical curves to verbally confirm that speed limits are adhered to. Where the train layout prohibits the conductor from reaching the engineer in a locomotive, they will communicate by radio. They will also communicate by radio at the five movable bridges.

Metro-North engineers are developing new signal protections to automatically enforce speed restrictions at the other four critical curves by March, and at the five movable bridges by September. The four critical curves are at Yonkers on the Hudson Line, White Plains on the Harlem Line, and Port Chester and Bridgeport on the New Haven Line. All five movable bridges are on the New Haven Line.

Metro-North has also surveyed its tracks and will reduce the maximum authorized speed at 26 locations in order to eliminate all locations where the speed limit drops by more than 20 mph. Signs will be posted along the right-of-way to alert engineers of reductions in maximum authorized speed at the four curves by December 16.

Last Friday, Governor Cuomo sent a letter to the MTA urging the NY State-controlled agency to undertake numerous measures, including expediting "automated speed control for vulnerable track locations across the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road systems," as well as implementing positive train control, which the federal government has urged train systems to do after a fatal California train crash in 2008.

New York Senator Charles Schumer and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal called on the MTA to add cameras to monitor train crews as well. Blumenthal said, "I know you're going to hear from Metro-North that there are costs, but the costs of these audio and visual recorders is minuscule, in fact negligible, compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars that this tragic incident will cost Metro-North in the end."