WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A New Jersey commuter train accelerated to twice the speed limit shortly before it crashed into a station in Hoboken last week, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday.
The engineer applied the brakes less than a second before the train crashed into the station’s bumping post, according to information obtained from the train data recorder, the investigators said. A woman on the station platform was killed in the Sept. 29 crash and more than 100 people were injured.
The NTSB said preliminary data showed the train was traveling at 21 miles per hour at the time of the crash, twice the maximum 10 mph speed limit in the station.
The train had been traveling at 8 mph 38 seconds prior to the collision and then speed began to increase and reached a maximum of about 21 mph before the crash.
The NTSB said the engineer-induced emergency braking occurred less than a second before the collision.
New Jersey Transit had no immediate comment on the report.
The engineer of the train told investigators he was fully rested but has no memory of the incident, the NTSB said Sunday.
Thomas Gallagher, a 29-year New Jersey Transit veteran who was injured when the train derailed, told investigators the train was running at 10 miles an hour when it was approaching the station, NTSB vice chair Bella Dinh-Zarr said at a news conference Sunday.
When interviewed by investigators, Gallagher said he conducted various procedures, including checking the train’s speedometer, and put his cellphone away during the trip, NTSB said this week.
The terminal, through which some 60,000 people pass on a typical weekday, remains closed.
The NTSB said the investigation remains in the fact-gathering phase, which could take a year or more.
The data from the event data recorders is preliminary and subject to change as it is validated.
(Reporting by Eric Beech and David Shepardson; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and James Dalgleish)