- Associated Press - Sunday, June 1, 2014

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Metro-North Railroad paid a $2,000 fine in the death of a signal maintainer struck by a train, a Connecticut newspaper group has reported.

Federal records show the fine was levied following the January 2009 death of Kenneth McGrath in Rye, N.Y. He was struck by a train headed to New Haven, Hearst Connecticut Media reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/1oJUCzc ).

Regulators fined Metro-North for failing to follow proper radio procedures. Records show that after the train struck the 49-year-old McGrath the engineer failed to say “emergency” three times when reporting the accident over the radio.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the relatively small fine raises “severe and serious concerns.” He says he will raise the issue with the Federal Railroad Administration at a hearing scheduled for this week.

Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders declined comment.

Blumenthal, who chairs the Senate Commerce subcommittee on surface transportation, on Tuesday is scheduled to hold hearings on federal rail oversight, enforcement and penalties in response to myriad problems that have plagued Metro-North for more than a year.

He said he also plans to ask why the FRA fined Metro-North only $5,000 for the 2013 death of rail worker Robert Luden, who was hit by a train and killed last year while working tracks closed to traffic.

Kevin Thompson, a spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration, said the law allows the FRA to levy fines for violations of federal safety regulations. Civil penalties are one of several enforcement tools to promote compliance with federal safety regulations, he said.

The settlement process the agency uses is prescribed by the Federal Claims Collection Act, Thompson said.

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Information from: Connecticut Post, http://www.connpost.com