Derailed Metro-North train was going 82 mph as it approached 30 mph zone

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NEW YORK (PIX11) — The Metro-North train that derailed in the Bronx was traveling 82 mph as it approached a 30 mph zone in an area that the governor has called a “dangerous” curve, the NTSB announced Monday afternoon.

“When I heard about the speed, I gulped,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said at a news conference with the National Transportation Safety Board. It’s “scary” and raises “so many questions” about the shocking derailment in Spuyten Duyvil that killed four people and injured 63 others at 7:20 a.m.  Sunday morning.

“My breath was taken … It’s beyond frightening, it’s harrowing,” said Sen. Richard  Blumenthal  about the moment he learned the train was going at triple the speed limit.

Why was the train going so fast? “That’s the question we need to answer,” said  National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener.

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Cranes righted the train carson the tracks on Monday. (Mario Diaz/PIX11)

The investigation is looking at human error and/or mechanical problem with train or signal, but speed was clearly a factor either way.

It seems certain that the tracks were in good shape and not at fault, according to U.S.  Sen. Charles Schumer.

The engine was reduced to idle just six seconds before the engine stopped. Only five seconds before the rear-engine engine came to a stop, the pressure in the brake pipe dropped from 120 psi to zero,  the NTSB said,  producing “maximum  braking,” the NTSB said.

The engineer cell phone has been recovered and will be inspected; the engineer is speaking with investigators. Drug and alcohol tests have been conducted on him, but the results have not been completed.

The NTSB said the Metro-North train made nine stops before derailing. The agency is not aware of any problems with brakes during the trip.

The seven trains cars and the locomotive will be moved to “a secure facility for further examination” in the next few days, helping the MTA to prepare the tracks to return to service.

The transit agency is once again in charge of the tracks, but the NTSB will continue its investigations and on-site work. Metro-North Hudson line service is presently suspended between Grand Central Terminal and Yonkers.

2 comments

  • Bill Minovich

    All the focus is on the engineer, but what about the rest of the crew? Surely they must have known about the curve and the speed of the train. What does it take for them to radio up to the engineer's cab, or even pull the emergency brake?

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