Several Metro-North Railroad commuters on Wednesday boarded their trains at Grand Central Terminal for their usual trips home, despite fears raised by Tuesday night's fatal derailment in Valhalla.
"It's pretty scary," said Keisha Eddie, 23, who works for a midtown public relations firm. "Especially if you have to do it. Regardless of what happens, I have to do it."
She often takes the 5:45 p.m. train from Grand Central to White Plains, just two stops south of Valhalla on the Harlem line.
Metro-North might be the only way for her to get to work, but Eddie said she is changing one aspect of her commute that she can control: where she sits.
Until now, Eddie said she had disregarded her mother's warnings that it was dangerous to sit in the front. Tuesday's fatalities on the train all were in the front car.
"I did it anyway because I like the view," she said.
But one day after a Metro-North train slammed into an SUV on the tracks in Valhalla, killing the driver and five passengers, she opted to sit somewhere toward the middle.
"I thought, 'Alright. Mom, I'll listen to you this time.' "
Daryl Shepard, 45, who was taking the 5:19 p.m. train to his home in White Plains, also said he thought twice about sitting in the front car. But he has adopted a bit of a fatalistic attitude.
"You have to kind of push it in the back of your mind and keep moving forward," said Shepard, a writer for a downtown engineering firm.
Still, Tuesday's deadly rush-hour crash reawakened his memories of the December 2013 derailment in the Bronx that killed four people and injured 59.
"It's something I've always thought could happen," he said. "It's always in the back of your head and could happen for any reason. You commute because you have to."
Michael Burke, 53, an attorney in White Plains who lives in Darien, Connecticut, said the Bronx accident had not unnerved him the way the Valhalla collision has.
"I didn't think much of it [safety] when the event happened with the train. . . . It seemed more like a fluke. But then, that incident, this incident really makes me think more about the level of safety," Burke said. He noted Metro-North also has had problems in Connecticut.
Two trains collided in Bridgeport on May 17, 2013; 51 people were injured.
These accidents can make it seem safer to commute by car, he said.
"I don't have to take it [Metro-North] daily because of the nature of my work but sometimes when it's a toss-up, I think I'm better off driving, which is a horrible thing."
Erica Ross, 35, of Woodlawn, is one of the commuters for whom Metro-North is the only option.
The recent crashes, the engineer said, made her feel "maybe a little apprehensive."
But she focused on the vast majority of trips that are uneventful.
"Most of the time, I feel safe."
With Alison Fox and Dan Rivoli