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Westport Officials Satisfied With Rail Talks

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport and Metro-North officials met Friday to discuss improving emergency communications to avoid incidents like the one July 22 when more than 200 passengers were stuck on a hot train for nearly an hour.

"We appreciate Metro-North's willingness to meet here in Westport and to learn from each other's perspective about what happened last Friday," Westport Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury said afterward. "The end result will be smoother operations in the future for both the emergency responders and the commuting public."

Passengers on the New Haven-bound train called 911 to report that many people were experiencing heat distress. The train, which was carrying three pregnant women, lost power between the Saugatuck and Greens Farms stations, and miscommunication the railroad and Westport emergency dispatchers delayed response time.

The meeting at the Westport Police Department was attended by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and representatives from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Joseloff called the meeting "highly productive." "We identified a number of areas where we believe we can improve communication with Metro-North on such emergencies," he said in a statement.

Joseloff added that because the town and Metro-North have an "excellent" communication record, it was important to quickly address what went wrong during this incident.

State Sen. Toni Boucher, whose district includes Westport, was also present. In a statement, Boucher said she was pleased with the outcome of the meeting as, "It is clear all parties understand that good communication is vital during emergencies and are taking this issue very seriously."

Were you or someone you know on the stalled train? How do you think Metro-North and town officials can improve communication? Leave a comment below.

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