TRANSIT: Investigation reveals derailed N.Y. train hit curve at 82 mph

Questions about operator error versus mechanical failure remain

Transit News The New York Times December 03, 2013
Printer-friendly version

Federal investigators looking into the cause of the train derailment in New York that killed four and injured dozens Sunday determined the train was going 82 mph—well above the recommended speed—when it went off the tracks Sunday.


The curve where the Metro-North train derailed, near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx, is the sharpest in the system, according to Metro-North, with a maximum allowable speed of 30 mph. The train’s speed at the time of the crash even exceeded the 70 mph limit on the preceding straightaway.


Investigators will now try to determine if the excessive speed and resulting accident were the result of operator error or mechanical failure. Sen. Charles Schumer said that the train had made nine stops on the route prior to the crash point, indicating that the brakes seemed to function properly.


Further evidence suggests the throttle was engaged up until six seconds before the crash, when the train operator indicated he “dumped the brakes,” applying all brakes on all of the cars at once.


Emergency crews worked Monday to lift the derailed cars out of the area, tying up traffic for dozens of commuters.

Overlay Init