The New Jersey Transit train that crashed into a rail station in Hoboken, N.J., last week sped up to more than twice the speed limit seconds before the train hit the terminal, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced yesterday.
The train’s engineer hit the emergency brake less than a second before the train slammed into a bumping post at the end of the rail line, went airborne, and hurtled into the station’s waiting area, according to information released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB said the findings were gleaned from a data recorder and video from a forward-facing camera in the front of the train.
According to the NTSB, the train was traveling at 8mph less than a minute before the Sept. 29 crash. Approximately 38 seconds before the crash, the throttle was increased and the train reached a maximum of about 21mph. NJ Transit trains have an in-cab system designed to alert engineers with a loud alarm and stop locomotives when they go over 20mph, according to a source.
An NTSB spokesperson said he didn’t know if the alert system went off. Thursday’s report contained no analysis of the data retrieved and no explanation for why the train increased speed. NTSB technical experts and the parties to the investigation are scheduled to meet next Tuesday to continue reviewing the data and video from the train.
A final report on what caused last week’s crash could take a year or longer to complete.