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Metra Under Federal Scrutiny Following Safety Complaints

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(CBS) – Metra is under a federal review following three incidents that occurred over 10 days, authorities announced Friday.

Commuter Paul Bedell is among the passengers who raised an alarm after a wild ride the Rock Island Line last week. He says the train went so fast the train tilted and partially left the tracks.

“Everyone on the train collectively gasped, and we were shaken. It was frightening,” Bedell says.

He was one of several passengers to complain to Metra.

“Monday of this week, not even seven days later, my sister-in-law’s train was inbound, and her train almost derailed,” he says.

That also was a Rock Island train, only it was headed inbound during the morning rush.

And just this past Tuesday, a Metra engineer passed through a red light while operating the Metra Electric Line.

Those three train engineers have been pulled from duty.

Joseph Szabo, head of the Federal Railroad Administration, says his department will begin a 45-day investigation into the Metra incidents. A team of 12 investigators will focus on Metra’s operations, testing and training.

Metra Under Federal Scrutiny

metra 0613 Metra Under Federal Scrutiny Following Safety Complaints
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Metra CEO Don Orseno expressed concern and said his system is launching its own investigation and reinforcing safety regulations with engineers.

He said he welcomes the federal scrutiny.

“Our operation is among the safest in the country, and customer safety is our number one priority,” Orseno said in a written statement.

The results of the federal audit will be released up to 60 days after the investigation is complete. Recommendations and even fines could be passed along.