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More than 100 injured as commuter train hits Brooklyn station; NTSB to review

Photo via @BethDeFalco

By Steve Bittenbender
Editor, Government Security News

A commuter railroad train failed to stop properly at a Brooklyn terminal during Wednesday morning’s commute, injuring more than 100 passengers. However, officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported no serious or life-threatening injuries resulted from the crash.

As the Long Island Rail Road train entered the Atlantic Terminal, authorities said the train did not come to a complete stop. Rather, the lead car hit the bumping block, popping up before colliding into the terminal building.

About 430 passengers were on board when the incident occurred. According to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the most serious injury appeared to be a possible broken leg. Cuomo also credited first responders, including the New York Police and Fire departments, for getting on site quickly to render aid.

“Most of the injuries were people who just walked and left the train,” said Cuomo, who spoke during a Wednesday morning press conference with MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast. “That’s why the number of people who are injured is hard to pinpoint because most of the people just walked off the train they were minor injuries. Basically, what happened is they were standing getting ready to get off the train, the train has a sudden stop, they’re not prepared for a sudden stop. They get knocked around, banged around.”

MTA officials reported the crash to the Federal Railroad Administration, which said it was conducting an investigation. By Wednesday evening, a team from the National Transportation Safety Board was at the terminal and had recovered the train’s event recorder.

It, too, will conduct a review, NTSB lead investigator Jim Southworth told reporters.

“The most important thing we want to do now is get a chance to talk to the people that can tell us perhaps what happened,” he said. “That’s the engineer, the assistant engineer and the conductor.”

Earlier in the day, Prendergast say the train’s crew were pulled and officials planned to interview them as part of the investigation.

The chairman added that while the MTA was installing cameras on all of its trains, he was unsure if this one had a camera already installed. He also did not know exactly the train’s rate of speed as it approached the Brooklyn station, estimating that it was around 10 miles per hour.

“There’s a signal system that controls it coming in at limited speeds,” Prendergast said. “But when you’re getting to the end it’s the locomotive engineer’s responsibility. And the train’s brakes have to work. All those things have to be looked at in the investigation.”

Despite crashing into the terminal building, MTA and LIRR officials said they expected no significant delays to Wednesday evening’s or Thursday morning’s rush hour commutes. The damage to the terminal platform was minor, officials said.

“We expect to have normal service out of here, because we have five (other) tracks,” Prendergast said.

LIRR train No. 2817 was scheduled to leave the Far Rockaway station, located just south of John F. Kennedy International Airport at 7:18 a.m. and approach the Brooklyn terminal, its final destination, by 8:11.

The incident occurred around 8:15 a.m., according to MTA officials.

 

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