On Thursday, October 13, the National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on the September 29 crash of a New Jersey Transit train at the Hoboken terminal that killed 34-year-old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon and injured 108 others. The report does not cite a reason for the crash.
The NTSB’s report does confirm the train was traveling at an excessive speed of 21 miles per hour as it entered the terminal. That is twice the permitted speed for a train approaching a terminal, and the train’s emergency brakes were only deployed at the last second before impact.
The train’s engineer, Tommy Gallagher, a New Jersey Transit employee for more than 30 years, stated he did not remember the crash; he only remembered waking up on the floor of the train’s cabin after the crash. According to his recollection, the train was going 10 miles an hour as it entered the terminal.
Investigators are trying to discern why the train was traveling so fast, but they face a huge obstacle in determining whether a mechanical failure contributed to the crash. The train’s brake, signal and propulsion control systems were destroyed in the crash. The NTSB is working to repair the train’s damaged systems for testing.
It will probably be months before the NTSB issues a final report, but that report could carry great weight in the impending injury and wrongful death litigation. New Jersey Transit resumed full service at the Hoboken train station on Monday, October 17.