Four die in NY train derailment
NEW YORK — A passenger train derailed Sunday in the Bronx, killing four people and injuring dozens.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators were expected on the scene Sunday, where cars of the Metro-North Railroad train remained scattered across the tracks hours after the 7:20 a.m. crash.
Some lay just feet from the waters of the Harlem River, where they were hurled as Metro-North’s 8088 out of Poughkeepsie ran off the tracks near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx. Fire officials said three of the four people confirmed dead were found outside the train, thrown from the train during the crash. Several of the injured had to be cut out of the wreckage.
More than 60 people were injured, 11 of them critically.
Speed, the activities of the train’s operator, equipment failures and criminality are among the potential areas of investigation.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the train was a diesel train, with seven coaches pushed by a locomotive. It had left Poughkeepsie, N.Y., shortly before 6 a.m., as scheduled, and was due to arrive at Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal at 7:40 a.m.
The train was not scheduled to stop at Spuyten Duyvil, which is where the Harlem and Hudson rivers meet. Trains passing through the area have a 30 mph speed limit as they round the curve at that point on the track, said Anders, noting that the speed limit on straight tracks is often near 70 mph.
Anders said in a television interview that the train’s engineer was the one who called in to report the accident and that the call was recorded. In addition, there in an event recorder on each train.
“The maximum allowable speed in that area is 30 miles per hour,” Anders said. “What the actual speed was will be determined by downloading the event recorder.”
Anders described the train’s engineer as a 20-year veteran with “an unvarnished record, from all accounts.”
The New York police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, said there were three conductors and a motorman on the train and that all were accounted for.
It was the second major incident since May involving the Metro-North Railroad, the nation’s second-busiest commuter railway according to monthly ridership. On May 17, dozens of people were injured, several seriously, when two Metro-North trains collided in Connecticut during rush hour.
Last July, a train hauling trash derailed on Metro-North tracks. Nobody was injured in that incident, which also occurred near the Spuyten Duyvil station.