The Mercury News
Investigators say train that crashed was speeding
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.