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Commuter Train Derails In The Bronx


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. A commuter train derailed in New York City this morning, killing at least four people and injuring more than 60. Five cars went off the track as the train took a large curve in the Bronx borough of the city. Rescue workers pulled dozens of people from the wreckage and have transported the injured to area hospitals. NPR's Jim Zarroli joins us now from the scene. Jim, at this point, do we know if all the passengers have been accounted for?

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: We have been told, actually, by Governor Andrew Cuomo that he believes that all of the passengers have been accounted for. There are still a lot of police on the scene and there are a couple of emergency boats sort of patrolling the waters. But from what we hear, they have basically taken everyone off the train.

MARTIN: And you've been able to discern how serious these injuries were?

ZARROLI: We have heard that 63 people were injured - 11 of them critically. That's, of course, in addition to those who died. This is a train line that goes from the city of Poughkeepsie in the Hudson River Valley down to Grand Central Terminal. I've taken the train. It's usually very crowded during the day, especially on rush hour. It can be just packed. But this happened very early in the morning on a Sunday. I imagine if it were a different time of day there would be a lot more injuries.

MARTIN: This isn't the first derailment on these tracks. Another train derailed back in July. What do we know about that accident?

ZARROLI: Yeah. This is a spot right where the railway line kind of curves. It's going down the Hudson River and then it curves and heads down through the Bronx and Manhattan in toward Grand Central terminal. In July, there was a derailment - a freight train. Took about a week to restore service right in this area.

MARTIN: NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board, is working this scene, trying to figure out what happened. But it has been a year of safety problems for the Metro-North Line.

ZARROLI: Yeah, there have been a number of problems. The most serious one happened in Connecticut outside Bridgeport. Two trains collided - 73 people injured. That was in May. There have been a number of other smaller incidents that happened. At the time, the chief engineer of Metro-North told the NTSB that Metro-North was sort of behind on its maintenance schedule.

MARTIN: Obviously, the investigation is ongoing. Are officials saying how long the Metro-North Line is expected to be closed?

ZARROLI: No. It could be days - at least I've heard, up to a week. I mean, this is a very busy line. A lot of trains come through here. So, a lot of people who come into the city are going to, you know, have their lives disrupted this week.

MARTIN: NPR's Jim Zarroli reporting on that train derailment in New York. Thank you so much, Jim.

ZARROLI: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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