"'This is a severe assessment, and it is intended as an urgent call to action to Metro-North's leadership as they work to develop a comprehensive plan to turn Metro-North into a model of safe railroad operations,' the report said.
The New York Times reports that the railroad's control center encouraged workers "to rush when responding to signal failures." At the same time, employees found it hard to get enough time on the tracks to make repairs.
The Times adds:
"The railroad administration faulted the inadequate training of track inspectors and the 'general state' of track maintenance. The operations control center included 'no sound barriers between the controllers or chief dispatchers,' increasing the risk for distraction, the report said. Safety briefings were poorly attended, one of many 'obvious signs of a weak safety culture,' it said.
"And workers across Metro-North often perceived that on-time performance was 'the most important criteria,' the review found.
"The railroad administration said that Metro-North — which runs from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan into New York City's northern suburbs and Connecticut — must submit plans to improve its safety and training programs, among other changes, within 60 days."