NTSB: Wrecked Train Did 82mph in 30mph Zone

Investigators go over train's data recorders

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 2, 2013 3:40 PM CST

(Newser) – The National Transportation Safety Board says a train that derailed in New York City was traveling 82 mph as it approached a 30 mph zone. The Metro-North Railroad commuter train jumped the tracks Sunday morning along a sharp curve where the speed limit drops from 70 mph to 30 mph. Four passengers died, including a Rockefeller Center tree worker. NTSB investigators today mined the train's data recorders, shedding light on such things as the train's speed and the use of its brakes. NTSB member Earl Weener says he's unaware of any problem with the train's brakes.

The investigators have also sought to question the engineer and conductor for clues (the operator has said the train wouldn't slow down). The rail employees union says engineer William Rockefeller was injured in the wreck and is cooperating with investigators. The wreck in the Bronx came two years before the federal government's deadline for Metro-North and other railroads to install automatic-slowdown technology designed to prevent catastrophic accidents. But with the cause of Sunday's wreck unknown, it was not clear whether the technology would have made a difference.

Cranes lift a derailed Metro-North train car, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, in the Bronx borough of New York.
Cranes lift a derailed Metro-North train car, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, in the Bronx borough of New York.   (Mark Lennihan)
Cranes salvage the last car from from a train derailment in the Bronx section of New York, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.
Cranes salvage the last car from from a train derailment in the Bronx section of New York, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.   (Mark Lennihan)
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