Conversation turns to rail safety as Hoboken crash investigation continues

HOBOKEN, N.J. (WIVB) – While investigators piece together what happened in the moments before a New Jersey Transit commuter train slammed into the busy Hoboken train terminal Thursday morning, a lot of people are demanding answers about whether technology could have prevented the crash.

One person was killed and more than 100 others injured with the train crashed through a barrier and into the platform.

NTSB investigators were able to download the data off one of the train’s event recorders on Friday, giving them a clearer picture of what went wrong.

Officials say there is no clear indication of the cause of the accident at this point.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said at a press conference Friday morning that the investigation has so far shown the crash may have been caused by mistakes made by the engineer and the train not being equipped with Positive Train Control technology.

That safety system combines GPS, wireless radio, and computers to monitor trains and automatically apply the brakes if a train is going too fast or being operated unsafely.

A federal law passed in 2008 required all rail lines carrying passengers or hazardous materials to equip their trains and tracks with the Positive Train Control technology by the end of 2015. The deadline was extended to the end of 2018.

This week’s deadly crash has renewed calls to implement the system sooner.

None of the trains on the New Jersey Transit system have been equipped with the technology yet.
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