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Senators want cameras watching trains’ engineers

Emergency workers examined a wrecked Metro North train car on Dec. 1 in the Bronx. The train’s hypnotic motion may have caused the engineer to be dazed, a union leader said.

Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Emergency workers examined a wrecked Metro North train car on Dec. 1 in the Bronx. The train’s hypnotic motion may have caused the engineer to be dazed, a union leader said.

NEW YORK — A week after four people died in a New York commuter train derailment, two federal lawmakers proposed Sunday that trains nationwide be outfitted with cameras pointed at engineers and at the tracks.

‘‘I know you’re going to hear from Metro-North that there are costs, but the costs of these audio and visual recorders is minuscule, in fact negligible, compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars that this tragic incident will cost Metro-North in the end,’’ said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Blumenthal joined Senator Charles Schumer of New York for a news conference at Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.

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Last Sunday, a Metro-North Railroad train approached a curve on the tracks just north of Manhattan going at 82 miles per hour instead of the speed limit of 30 miles per hour. Rail cars ran off the tracks, with the front car ending up inches from the water where the Hudson River meets the Harlem River.

A lawyer and a union leader for the derailed train’s engineer, William Rockefeller, have said the train’s hypnotic motion may have caused him to experience a ‘‘nod’’ or a ‘‘daze.’’

The Democratic lawmakers are urging the Federal Railroad Administration to demand the implementation of a measure they say might prevent the kind of deadly Metro-North derailment that also left dozens of people injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board first recommended installation of the audio and video recording cameras in locomotives five years ago.

Schumer said fatigue was suspected in two collisions — in Iowa in 2011 and in Newton, Mass., in 2008 — and might have been prevented if cameras were present. In the Green Line crash, operator Ter’rese Edmonds was killed.

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