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LIRR train was speeding at time of derailment

NTSB staff survey damage after the Jan. 4 derailment.
Photo – NTSB

By Daniel Niepow, Associate Editor

The MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train that crashed into a concrete barrier in the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn last week was traveling at twice the posted speed limit, federal investigators said.

The train, which failed to stop at a bumper at the terminal and derailed, was going more than 10 mph at the time of the crash, said National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesman Peter Knudson. The speed limit in the terminal area is 5 mph.

The Jan. 4 incident injured more than 100 people. No fatalities were reported.

Positive train control was not in operation on the segment of track where the derailment occurred, Knudson said.

The NTSB will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident, including examining the locomotive engineer for sleep apnea and reviewing his cell phone records.

The engineer didn't recall hitting the bumper, NBC 4 New York reported.

In a similar incident in late September 2016, a New Jersey Transit commuter train crashed into the Hoboken Terminal, causing one fatality. That train's operator was later diagnosed with sleep apnea.

The NJ Transit train also was traveling at twice the posted speed limit.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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