- Associated Press - Saturday, December 26, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling for the installation of technology that can help prevent train crashes on a portion of rail from New York City to New Haven.

Blumenthal said the positive train control technology has recently been activated on Amtrak tracks between Philadelphia and New York. He said that leaves the New York-to-New Haven stretch as the only portion of the Northeast Corridor without the safety enhancement.

Positive train control technology also was activated recently on the Philadelphia-to-Washington section. The stretch from Boston to New Haven was already operational.

Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said all railroads, including the Metro-North Railroad, should install the potentially life-saving technology as quickly as possible.

Positive train control technology uses GPS and other tracking systems to automatically stop trains in danger of derailing because they are speeding, are about to collide with other trains or are about to enter work areas. The technology could help avoid deadly passenger train derailments, like that of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia this year.

Investigators say the technology might have prevented that May 12 crash, which killed eight people and injured about 200.

Blumenthal said Amtrak has demonstrated that meeting the deadline for installing the technology is possible, even on a dense, congested corridor like the track between Washington, D.C., and New York City.

“All railroads should follow Amtrak’s lead and implement PTC now, ahead of the recently extended schedule,” Blumenthal said in a written statement. “And Congress must do its part by providing more funds to assist railroads in installing PTC.”

A sweeping five-year, $305 billion transportation bill approved by Congress this month and signed by President Barack Obama provides $200 million to help commuter railroads install positive train control technology.

In Boston, the fiscal control board that oversees the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority voted in November to install positive train control on all commuter rail lines within five years.

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