29 September 2016

Mass casualties in Hoboken, NJ

"Some passengers said the train seemed to be moving faster than usual as it entered the station, but they didn't think much of it -- until the impact."
More reports that the train did not slow down are emerging...
Leon Offengenden, a passenger in the third car of the train said he wasn’t in a seat with a window, but doesn’t think the train slowed down when it was approaching the Hoboken station. “There was no brakes, all of a sudden just crash,” he said. “Something happened.”

Passenger Linda Albelli, 62, told Reuters that she was sitting at the rear of the train as it barreled into the station.

“I noticed, ‘he’s not slowing up, we’re going too fast,’ and with that there was this tremendous crash.”
More than 100 people were injured and at least three people killed.


UPDATE: Not "standard operating procedure"...
"Trains normally come in at 2 or 3 mph by the time they get to the resting spot where people depart," Mike Larson, a New Jersey transit employee, told reporters in Hoboken. "He came in at a high rate of speed. He went straight through the bumper block, through the air, took the ceiling out."

"It was just horrific, an explosion of concrete dust and electrical wires."
Note that ommuter trains are always equipped with a spring-loaded "Deadman" device that automatically applies emergency braking if the vehicle operator becomes incapacitated.


UPDATE2: One dead... not three
Investigators retrieved an event recorder from the New Jersey Transit train and they expect to download information from the device Friday morning, a US official with direct knowledge of the probe said.

The engineer, Thomas Gallagher, 48, who has worked for the New Jersey Transit for 29 years was treated and released from a hospital. He hasn't yet spoken with National Transportation Safety Board investigators.


Bill E said...

I'm willing to believe this was the result of typical NYC polis skimming infrastructure maintenance money (that could have gone to new brakes on subway trains) to pay their tabs at the playboy club.

Neo Conservative said...

"bill e says... skimming infrastructure maintenance money (that could have gone to new brakes"

everything i've read and personally know about commuter trains (i was a subway operator back in the 1980s before moving over to mainframe admin) suggests, not that there was partial or faulty braking, but that there was no braking at all.

the system is set up so that, like a tractor trailer, if a pneumatic brake line is compromised, brakes are automatically applied. if an operator merely lets up pressure on the "deadman control" (as one would presumably do in an equipment failure scenario) emergency braking is immediately initiated... hitting the "dynamite switch", in trucker parlance.

all eyewitness accounts, including employees of new jersey transit at the scene, suggest this train entered the hoboken terminus at "balls to the wall" velocity.

if this crash was the result of an equipment failure, (and i'm not saying it isn't) it had to be a massive, all encompassing event that defeated established redundant safety systems.

occam's razor suggests otherwise, but the ntsb will surely be sending in an investigative team.