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Federal regulators probing NJ Transit safety record in wake of Hoboken crash

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HOBOKEN, N.J. — The NTSB confirmed on Monday that they will be using information from an ongoing Federal Railroad Administration inquiry when compiling their findings on the Hoboken train crash.

Since 2011, New Jersey Transit has recorded 164 train crashes.

Roughly half of them have been blamed on human error, the other half attributed to mechanical, operational or outside causes.

The latest wreck in Hoboken is the worst the carrier has seen in recent years, with 1 woman dead and over 100 others injured.

The train remains inside Hoboken Terminal, and NTSB investigators are still unable to access the front of the locomotive. Over the weekend, they were able to interview the train’s operator, Thomas Gallagher, but he could not recall anything that would have caused the crash.

“As he approached the end of the station platform, he said that he blew the horn, he checked his speedometer and started ringing the bell. He said he looked at his watch and noticed his train was about 6 minutes late arriving at Hoboken,” said Bella Dinh-Zarr, Vice Chairman of the NTSB. "He said that when he checked the speedometer he was operating at 10 mph when entering the station track. The engineer says he has no memory of the accident. He remembers waking up on the floor of the cab.”

Mr. Gallagher’s statement that he has no memory of the accident resembles comments made by the train operator in last year’s Amtrak train derailment just outside of Philadelphia. That train operator also told investigators that he could not recall what happened just before the crash.

Investigators were able to retrieve a data recorder from the Hoboken train wreck, but it wasn’t working at the time of the crash.

A second data recorder is still inside the wreckage.

"They just blocked it off like there are caution signs on every corner,” said Victor Yao, who rode the PATH train into Hoboken today. A tarp covered the platform entrance.

Flowers have been laid against the barricades. Outside, the plaza remains filled with NJ Transit workers in hard hats and police.