Trains side-swip­ing each other caused de­rail­ment, of­fi­cial says

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS -

NEW HYDE PARK (AP) >> A 12car com­muter train and a work train per­form­ing track main­te­nance were trav­el­ing the same di­rec­tion when they “side-swiped” each other, caus­ing the com­muter train to de­rail and in­jur­ing 33 peo­ple, four se­ri­ously, state of­fi­cials said Sun­day.

Gov. An­drew Cuomo, speak­ing at the site of the Satur­day night ac­ci­dent, said ini­tial re­views in­di­cate the yel­low main­te­nance train some­how en­tered the clear­ance space of the east­bound Long Is­land Rail Road train, caus­ing it to de­rail and leav­ing “a splat­ter of yel­low paint where the first col­li­sion oc­curred.”

“Both trains were run­ning in the same di­rec­tion — one was a work train, one was a rev­enue train and they side-swiped each other,” said Cuomo, a Demo­crat. “The ques­tion is why.” Fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board were to de­ter­mine what ex­actly caused the ac­ci­dent, Cuomo said.

The de­rail­ment comes 10 days af­ter another com­muter train in New Jersey crashed into a ter­mi­nal, killing one per­son and in­jur­ing more than 100.

Four peo­ple sus­tained se­ri­ous in­juries in the Satur­day col­li­sion, in­clud­ing one pas­sen­ger with mul­ti­ple bro­ken bones and a worker who suf­fered cuts, Metropoli­tan Tran­sit Au­thor­ity Chair­man Thomas Pren­der­gast said. Five Long Is­land Rail Road em­ploy­ees on the com­muter train, and two on the work train, were among the in­jured, he said. Craig Heller, one of 600 pas­sen­gers aboard the LIRR train Satur­day night, said his car started shak­ing sud­denly af­ter the col­li­sion.

“The car was shak­ing back and forth and back and forth,” he said. “We felt like we could ac­tu­ally com­pletely tilt over while it was hap­pen­ing.

That was a fear.” Emer­gency work­ers used lad­ders to bring the in­jured off the de­railed trail, which came to a stop on a stretch of tracks in a re­mote area on a hill about 22 miles east of New York City.

Work­ers were try­ing to clear at least one of the two tracks be­fore the Mon­day morn­ing com­mute, Cuomo said. The main­te­nance train had fin­ished its track work Satur­day night when it some­how vi­o­lated the com­muter train’s space, Pren­der­gast said. The LIRR train was likely trav­el­ing faster than the work train when they col­lided, he said.

Long Is­land Rail Road trains have been in­volved in 72 ac­ci­dents since Jan. 1, 2011, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral data, in­clud­ing 3 col­li­sions and 15 de­rail­ments on tracks used for pas­sen­ger ser­vice.


Res­cue per­son­nel look at a Long Is­land Rail­road train that de­railed near New Hyde Park on Satur­day.

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