The Metro North passenger train that derailed in the Bronx on Sunday, killing four people and injuring dozens more, was going above the speed limit even before it entered a turn at too high a speed, the NTSB said today.
The speed limit in the turn was 30mph, and the limit in the section of track before was 75mph. The train was going 82mph when it entered the turn.
Why it was going so fast is “the question we need to answer,” board member Earl Weener said in a press conference.
“That train was going way too fast,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said at the press conference, “and certainly speed was a contributing factor.”
After the accident, the engineer said the train’s brakes failed. The NTSB said the air brakes worked fine for the nine first stops on the train’s trip, but seconds before the engine stopped, “pressure in the brake pipe dropped from 120 psi [a unit of brake pressure] to 0 – which resulted in max braking.”
The train’s crew was tested for drugs and alcohol, but results have not come back yet.
The engineer’s cell phone has been recovered, and will be examined for evidence.
The NTSB will interview the engineer today and the other three crew members in the next few days.
The seven train cars and locomotive have been turned upright, and will be moved to a secure location for further examination. The NTSB is still testing signals in the area, and has finished its survey of the tracks.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs Metro-North railroad, can now begin repairs.
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