The Mercury News

Investigat­ors say train that crashed was speeding

- By Michael Balsamo

HOBOKEN, N.J. — Federal investigat­ors estimate a commuter train was traveling two to three times the 10 mph speed limit when it slammed into a New Jersey rail station last week, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The official, who was briefed on the investigat­ion, said investigat­ors estimated the train was moving between 20 and 30 mph when it crashed into Hoboken Terminal last Thursday. The official was not authorized to speak about an ongoing investigat­ion and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The speed estimate is based on the extent of damage, not on data from the train’s instrument­s.

Federal investigat­ors recovered a data recorder, video recorder and the engineer’s cellphone from the front car of the train Tuesday afternoon and sent them to an agency lab for analysis.

National Transporta­tion Safety Board investigat­or James Southworth said they don’t yet know if the recorders contain any useful informatio­n.

Access to the devices had been hampered by debris from the crash.

Southworth said it would be at least a day before investigat­ors are able to move the crashed train. He said New Jersey Transit service into and out of Hoboken wouldn’t resume before then.

A second data recorder, in the locomotive at the rear of the train, wasn’t functionin­g the day of the crash and didn’t record speed, braking or other informatio­n about the trip, the NTSB has said.

That recorder was built in 1995. The recorder recovered Tuesday was made in 2003, investigat­ors said.

Engineer Thomas Gallagher’s cellphone was found in a backpack in the cab of the front train car.

At a briefing Tuesday, NTSB investigat­or James Southworth declined to address the train’s speed.

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