Derailed Train Was Reportedly Traveling at 'Shocking Speed' Before Deadly Crash

Federal safety officials said Monday that the commuter train that derailed over the weekend was found to be speeding at 82 mph as it entered a 30-mph curve. The derailment resulted in a deadly wreck when seven passenger cars jumped the track.

Four people died in the crash, and at least 67 more were injured -- some quite severely. One man suffered a spinal cord injury that may have paralyzed him from the neck down for the rest of his life.

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The engineer, William Rockfeller, and the rest of the crew were still being questioned on Monday, but the National Transportation Safety Board reported the 82 mph figure from preliminary data taken from the locomotive and another car. It showed the throttle being cut and the brakes applied only seconds before the train came to a rest, which NTSB member Earl Weener said is “very late in the game.”

Although the train was speeding, the exact cause of the derailment is still unknown. As Weener said, “This is raw data off the event recorders, so it tells us what happened. It doesn’t tell us why it happened.”

Not only was the train going faster than it should have when it went into the curve, it was also well above the 70 mph posted limit for the section of track leading into it.

There was no indication of brake problems, and the tracks seemed to be in good condition.

Rockefeller says he applied the brakes, but the train didn’t slow down. There was no evidence that he was intoxicated at the scene of the accident.

This situation is so scary, and I hope they’re able to figure out what went wrong so that incidents like this can be prevented in the future.

Have you ever been involved in an accident on mass transportation?

 

Image via Marc Johnson/Flickr

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