HOBOKEN, N.J., Oct. 6 (UPI) — A New Jersey commuter train that crashed into a station last week was inexplicably traveling at twice the speed limit in the seconds before it collided, federal investigators said Thursday.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the train accelerated from 8 mph to 21 mph about 30 seconds before the crash. The speed limit at that portion of track is 10 mph.
The new information was gleaned from an event recorder and footage from a forward-facing video camera on the train.
Investigators said about 38 seconds before the crash, the train’s throttle was moved from idle to a greatly accelerated position — reaching a maximum speed of 21 mph. The throttle was then moved back to idle just before the collision.
A woman standing on the Hoboken platform was killed in the crash and dozens aboard the train were hurt.
“The event recorder shows train speed was about 21 mph when it collided with the bumping post,” the NTSB said in a crash update Thursday. “Event recorder speeds during the final seconds are consistent with train speed estimates obtained from the NTSB’s preliminary analysis of images from the forward facing video camera.”
Authorities are still trying to determine why the train’s engineer was going so fast when approaching the terminal.
“The investigation remains in the fact-gathering phase, which could take a year or more,” the agency said.
Officials also said the video confirmed that the train’s horn was sounded about one minute before the crash and a bell followed until the crash.