Three Metra Incidents Prompt Federal Investigation

Federal Railroad Association begins 45 day assessment period

By Emily Florez
|  Friday, Jun 6, 2014  |  Updated 6:23 PM CDT
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Federal Railroad Association begins 45 day assessment period of agency after three incidents in two weeks. NBC 5's Emily Florez reports.

Federal Railroad Association begins 45 day assessment period of agency after three incidents in two weeks. NBC 5's Emily Florez reports.

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Metra will be under federal scrutiny for 45 days following three recent incidents over a period of two weeks involving its trains.

The Federal Railroad Association will begin an assessment period starting Friday, after Metra self-reported two incidents involving complaints of speeding, and another incident involving a train proceeding improperly through a light signal.

The investigation will be focused on operational practices, testing and training, FRA officials said at a Friday news conference.

The three Metra engineers involved in each of the incidents late last month have been removed from duty during the course of the investigation, which will be conducted by 12 inspectors.

FRA officials pointed out that Metra has historically had a clean safety record, and say the investigation is not designed to shed a negative light on the agency, but more of a proactive measure to ensure safety in the future.

The FRA will take 30 to 60 days after the assessment period to file its report and make it public.

Metra CEO Don Orseno issued a statement Friday calling safety "Metra's top priority," and that the agency plans to complete its own investigation.

We are fully committed to working with the FRA and welcome their review. We share a common goal of making commuter rail travel the safest mode of transportation ... In addition to our on-going operational testing, we have directed managers to personally meet and review safety procedures with operating personnel and reinforce the importance of maintaining situational awareness at all times. We have issued a safety bulletin to all operating employees. The BNSF and UP have also taken the same actions.

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