New Jersey doesn't have key rail safety system

2016-09-30 08:43
First responders treat injured passengers after a New Jersey Transit train crashed into the platform at Hoboken Terminal. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Getty Images via AFP)

First responders treat injured passengers after a New Jersey Transit train crashed into the platform at Hoboken Terminal. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Getty Images via AFP)

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Hoboken - The New Jersey Transit train that crashed in Hoboken, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others, was not equipped with a technology that is designed to slow speeding trains.

US railroads are under government orders to install the system, called positive train control, but the work has gone more slowly than expected. The deadline has been repeatedly extended and is now December 31, 2018.

Bob Chipkevich, who formerly headed the National Transportation Safety Board's train crash investigations section, says the agency will be looking at whether the train was exceeding speed limits, both when it was approaching the station and when it entered the station area.

Last month, the Federal Railroad Administration said New Jersey Transit had a lot of work yet to do on installing the necessary equipment.

New Jersey Transit responded that the report didn't reflect the work it had accomplished.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the scene. They will want to know what the operator was doing before the crash and whether the person was distracted, said Bob Chipkevich, who formerly headed the NTSB train crash investigations section.

William Blaine, an engineer for a company that runs freight trains, was inside the station when the train crashed and ran over to help. He walked over to the heavily damaged first car with a transit employee to check on the train's engineer and said he found him slumped over the controls. The engineer's condition wasn't immediately clear.

The Hoboken Terminal, which handles more than 50 000 train and bus riders daily, is just across the Hudson River from New York City. It is the final stop for several train lines and a transfer point for many commuters on their way to New York City. Many passengers get off at Hoboken and take ferries or a PATH commuter train to New York.

More than 100 000 people use NJ Transit trains to commute from New Jersey into New York City daily.

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