New Jersey transit already under investigation before Hoboken crash

HOBOKEN, N.J., Oct. 2 (UPI) — New Jersey Transit was already under federal audit when a fatal crash occurred in Hoboken last week killing one and injuring 114 others, several sources said.

The Federal Railroad Administration was auditing the transit authority partially because of concerns about safety violations, a source close to the audit told ABC News The FRA was also reviewing “a leadership vacuum” in the organization.

The audit, which began in the spring and was completed in June, uncovered “dozens of safety violations” for which the transit authority paid a monetary penalty, the source said. And even prior to the Hoboken crash, the FRA was preparing “next steps” and “considering more enforcement actions.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating Thursday’s crash of Pascack Valley Line train No. 1614, but said it has not yet determined the cause of that crash.

The FRA, over the summer, had been preparing a consent decree that would order NJT to take some immediate steps to address safety issues, NBC reported.

Investigators still have not been able to figure out why the train entered the Hoboken station at such a high rate of speed, one federal source said. Investigators have not found that any signals were malfunctioning at the time of the crash and a track inspection found nothing that should have affected the train’s operation.

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Investigators have still be unable to access the front cab of the wrecked train, where an event recorder and outward facing camera are located. The access has been cut off because the station was so badly damaged and because of high levels of asbestos, federal sources said.

The NTSB has interviewed train engineer Thomas Gallagher, 48, who was injured in the crash, but investigators say they will not release a summary of the interview until all other interviews are completed. One law enforcement official close to the investigation said preliminary tests indicate Gallagher was likely not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.



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