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The deadliest US commuter train crashes since 2000

At least one person was killed and more than 100 others were injured when a New Jersey Transit train crashed into a platform in Hoboken on Thursday.

Destruction caused by a train crash in Hoboken on Sept. 29, 2016, is pictured. (Twitter/@coreyfuttdesign)

Destruction caused by a train crash in Hoboken on Sept. 29, 2016, is pictured. (Twitter/@coreyfuttdesign)

At this point it’s unclear how many more may be dead or injured.

There have been a number of fatal commuter train crashes through the years. Here’s a list of the deadliest crashes since 2000:

Sept. 12, 2008: Metrolink commuter train

Casualties: 25 killed; more than 100 injured

Where: Chatsworth, California, near Los Angeles

What: A Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train collided head-on in the late afternoon. The Metrolink’s locomotive and one of its three passenger cars derailed; two of the freight train’s locomotives and 10 of its 17 cars derailed.

Why: The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the Metrolink engineer — who was among those killed in the wreck — was distracted while texting someone on a phone, and that he therefore failed to stop his train at a red signal. Metrolink already had prohibited its engineers from using wireless devices while operating trains. The NTSB said the crash could have been avoided if the Metrolink train had had positive train control technology, which combines GPS and other technology to monitor trains and stop them from colliding, derailing or speeding.

Result: The NTSB recommended that all rail companies install cameras and audio recorders at the controls so bosses could occasionally review whether their engineers were breaking cell phone rules. Congress ordered the nation’s railroads to adopt positive train control by December 2015.

Sept. 26, 2005: Metrolink commuter train

Casualties: 11 killed

A man walks past a commuter train wreck on January 26, 2005 in Glendale, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

A man walks past a commuter train wreck on January 26, 2005 in Glendale, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Where: Glendale, California, near Los Angeles

What: A Metrolink commuter train struck an unoccupied Jeep Cherokee that a man had parked on the railroad tracks. The southbound train derailed, ran into a northbound Metrolink train and then crashed into a Union Pacific train that was parked nearby. This was Metrolink’s deadliest crash until the 2008 incident (above).

Why: Prosecutors accused Juan Manuel Alvarez of parking the vehicle on the tracks, intending to kill commuters, so he could get attention from his estranged wife, the Los Angeles Times reported. Defense attorneys claimed Alvarez parked the vehicle there intending to commit suicide, but changed his mind and exited the vehicle before the train arrived, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Result: Alvarez was convicted of murder in 2008 and sentenced to life in prison.

June 22, 2009: WMATA commuter train

Casualties: Nine killed; dozens injured

Where: Washington

What: One Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority commuter train (Train 112) struck the rear of another (Train 214) that was stopped near the Red Line’s Fort Totten station during rush hour. The rear car of Train 214 telescoped about 63 feet into the lead car of Train 112, the NTSB said. All nine people who died were on Train 112, including 112’s operator.

Why: A track circuit component that is supposed to detect trains failed in the area where Train 214 was stopped — meaning Train 214 was invisible to Washington Metro’s automatic train control system. Since Train 214 was essentially invisible, the system commanded Train 112 to keep going right into the back of 214, the NTSB found. The NTSB said the crash would have been avoided had Washington Metro properly tested its system.

Result: The NTSB made a number of safety oversight and equipment inspection recommendations.

May 12, 2015: Amtrak train

Casualties: Eight killed; more than 200 injured

Where: Philadelphia

Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of an Amtrak passenger train carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York that derailed late May 13, 2015 in Pennsylvania. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of an Amtrak passenger train carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York that derailed late May 13, 2015 in Pennsylvania. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

What: An Amtrak train, headed to New York from Washington with 238 passengers and five crew members, derailed. Video showed the train was speeding up as it approached a curve, just moments before its derailment.

Why: The NTSB determined the train’s engineer, Brandon Bostian, was distracted prior to the crash by radio chatter from other train operators. Bostian’s train approached the curve — which had a suggested speed of 50 mph — at 106 mph.

Result: The board made recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration for recurrent training for train engineers to help them better manage the necessary tasks when in control of a train.

June 24, 2011: Amtrak train

Casualties: Six killed; 16 injured

Where: Churchill County, Nevada

What: A heavy commercial truck struck an Amtrak passenger train at a crossing, killing the truck driver, the train conductor and four train passengers. The train was headed from Chicago to Emeryville, California.

Why: The NTSB said the truck driver was inattentive, asserting that although the crossing signals were active when the truck was nearly a half-mile away, the driver didn’t start braking until his truck was 300 feet from the crossing. The NTSB also said nine of the truck’s 16 brakes were out of adjustment or inoperative.

Result: The NTSB made 20 safety recommendations to a number of parties, including the truck driver’s employer.

Feb. 3, 2015: Metro-North train

Casualties: Six killed; more than a dozen injured

Where: Valhalla, New York

The sport utility vehicle that was hit by a Metro-North train is removed from the site of the accident on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The sport utility vehicle that was hit by a Metro-North train is removed from the site of the accident on February 4, 2015 in Valhalla, New York. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

What: A Metro-North passenger train struck an SUV at a crossing at 6:26 p.m. Witnesses said the SUV was stopped in the crossing when the crossing gates came down, striking the rear of the SUV, according to a preliminary NTSB report. The SUV driver got out, looked at the back of the SUV, re-entered the vehicle, drove forward and was struck by the train, the preliminary report says. The train’s engineer applied emergency brakes, but the train, though it had been going just under a 60 mph limit, did not stop in time, the NTSB said. Five train passengers and the SUV driver were killed.

Why: The NTSB is investigating.

April 18, 2002: Amtrak train

Casualties: Four killed; 142 injured

Where: Crescent City, Florida

What: An Amtrak train carrying 446 people derailed on a left-hand curve of a CSX-owned track. Twenty-one of the train’s 40 cars were off the rail.

Why: The NTSB said the track buckled, blaming what it said was CSX’s inadequate track resurfacing operations. The buckle happened where a CSX resurfacing crew had been working. According to the NTSB, the crew had shored up the track after a substantial drop in temperature only to see it expand and buckle a few days later when temperatures rose.

Result: The NTSB recommended, among other things, that CSX start a quality-control program for its track surfacing workers.

Dec. 1, 2013: Metro-North train

Casualties: Four killed; at least 61 injured

Where: the Bronx

What: A Metro-North passenger train, heading from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central, derailed at a left-hand curve. The lead car came to rest inches from water at the intersection of the Hudson and Harlem rivers.

Why: The NTSB said the train was traveling at 82 mph when it derailed at a curve where the speed limit was 30 mph. The train was going over the speed limit because the engineer had fallen asleep “due to undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea exacerbated by a recent circadian rhythm shift required by his work schedule,” the NTSB said.

April 3, 2016: Amtrak train

Casualties: Two killed; 41 injured

Emergency personnel investigate the crash site of Amtrak Palmetto train 89 on April 3, 2016 in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Emergency personnel investigate the crash site of Amtrak Palmetto train 89 on April 3, 2016 in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Where: Chester, Pennsylvania

What: An Amtrak train crashed into a backhoe that was on the tracks, killing two Amtrak construction workers. The train, traveling from New York to Savannah, Georgia, was carrying 337 passengers and seven crew members. The impact caused the lead engine of the train to derail.

Why: A preliminary report from the NTSB indicates the two construction workers, doing maintenance work, were on the wrong line when they were struck and killed.