A commuter train crashed in the busy Hoboken train station during rush hour on Thursday morning, killing at least one person and injuring over 100 more. The deadly Hoboken train crash was initially reported at around 8:45 a.m.
Hoboken Terminal is one of the largest and busiest in the area, transporting more than 100,000 people per day between New Jersey and New York. Thursday’s fatal train accident could not have happened at a worse time, as many commuters were either aboard New Jersey Transit train or standing on one of the terminal’s platforms.
At least one fatality has been reported, a woman said to be in her 30s, who happened to be standing on the platform when New Jersey Transit train No. 1614 crashed through barriers at the station and came to rest right next to the terminal’s interior wall.
Over 100 people sustained injuries in the Hoboken train crash. Most of the serious injuries were reported to be among passengers who were in the first and second cars of the train, or individuals who were waiting on the platform.
Over 20 ambulances responded to the emergency, working quickly to get the injured to area hospitals. Jersey City Medical Center reported receiving 66 patients from Thursday’s train accident, 13 of whom were listed as emergency room patients. As of Thursday afternoon, over half had been released from the hospital. Hoboken University Medical Center reportedly received 22 patients, none of whom were critically injured.
According to a New Jersey Transit official, the train was carrying about 250 passengers at the time of the crash. New Jersey Transit train No. 1614 departed from Spring Valley, New York at approximately 7:32 a.m. on the Pascack Valley Line bound for Hoboken. The train reportedly crashed on Track 5 of the Hoboken Terminal.
The Hoboken Terminal is the end of the line for the Pascack Valley route, so trains are supposed to slow down as they proceed through the often-crowded rail yard. Trains are then supposed to continue slowly into the station and eventually come to a stop before the concrete barrier at the end of the tracks.
How Did the Hoboken Train Crash Happen?
According to those who witnessed the Hoboken train crash, the New Jersey Transit train appeared to be carrying too much speed as it approached the platform. Jim Finan, a commuter from River Edge, New Jersey told Fox News that the train sped into the station “at full tilt” without showing any signs of slowing down.
The train was unable to stop within the designated area, and instead slammed into a bumper block. Witnesses say the first train car actually clipped the roof of the terminal as it barreled over all of the bumpers on the track, finally coming to a complete stop on a concourse near the waiting area.
The first train car, which sustained the brunt of the damage in the Hoboken train crash, was essentially destroyed, with its roof caved in. Photos of the crash scene show the front of the train stopped well beyond the end of the tracks, tangled in a web of twisted steel and hanging wires.
Bhagyesh Shah told the media that he was riding in the back of the first car when it approached the station. Shah noticed that the train didn’t appear to be slowing down as it should. “It was a couple of seconds, but it felt like an eternity,” he said. The next thing he knew, the train plowed through the platform.
Shah noted that the first two cars of the train are usually jam-packed with people because it is easier to exit from there into the Hoboken station. Passengers who were in the second train car were forced to break open the windows in order to evacuate. Shah says he saw a woman pinned under concrete in the wake of the crash. Many others were bleeding.
Michael Larson, a New Jersey Transit worker, was surprised to hear that the death toll wasn’t much higher after surveying the damage. Larson was one of many to crawl on hands and knees into the wreckage to help pull people out. “One of the worst days I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Could Positive Train Control Have Prevented the Hoboken Train Crash?
According to a report by NBC News, the New Jersey Transit line was not equipped with positive train control, a safety technology that likely would have prevented the Hoboken train crash. Positive train control, or PTC, is an advanced system that uses GPS to monitor and control train movements. PTC can prevent train crashes and derailments that occur as a result of excessive speed.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) blamed the absence of PTC for the 2015 Amtrak 188 crash in Philadelphia that killed eight people. According to the NTSB, PTC could have prevented 145 train accidents that have occurred since 1969. All told, those accidents killed 288 people and injured 6,574 others.
The train accident law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, which has represented over 80 people in train crashes, including nine victims from the Amtrak 188 crash last year in Philadelphia, has been fighting for years to highlight the need for positive train control in order to save lives. The country’s railroads were supposed to be outfitted with PTC by the end of 2015 as part of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. But after telling the House Transportation Committee they would not be able to meet the deadline, Congress allowed a three-year extension to fully implement the life-saving technology.
Hoboken Train Crash Investigation
The NTSB and the Federal Railroad Administration have both dispatched teams to the site of the Hoboken train crash. It will likely take a year or more before the official cause of the Hoboken train crash will be released.
Officials will likely focus their investigation on the actions of the engineer prior to the accident, the conditions of the track, and the train itself to determine if track failure or mechanical failure played a role.
Hoboken Train Crash Updates
Train May Have Been Speeding Prior to Fatal Hoboken Crash
October 5, 2016
The New Jersey Transit train that crashed last week in Hoboken may have been going twice or three times faster than the posted speed limit, according to a source close to the crash investigation.
The early estimate, which was provided by a government official briefed on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation, posits that the train may have been going between 20 and 30 miles-per-hour when it entered the Hoboken Terminal and slammed into a bumper. The speculation is based solely on the extent of the damage to the train and the station after the Hoboken crash, not on the reports of witnesses.