Tue | Aug 22, 2017

New Jersey Transit had over 150 accidents since 2011

Published:Monday | October 3, 2016 | 10:00 AM

HOBOKEN, NJ (AP):

New Jersey Transit trains have been involved in more than 150 accidents that caused in excess of US$4.8 million in damage to tracks or equipment since 2011.

Federal Railroad Administration information shows that NJ Transit settled 183 safety violations - ranging from employee drug and alcohol use to violations of railroad operating rules or practices since January 1, 2011. The settlement payments include about $70,000 for more than a dozen safety violations in 2014 and 2015. Statistics for the current year are not yet available.

Months before Thursday's deadly commuter train crash in Hoboken, New Jersey, federal rail officials found dozens of violations during an audit focusing on NJ Transit's safety and operations, a US official told The Associated Press on Saturday. The official, who was familiar with the railroad administration audit, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorised to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.

The railroad administration began an audit in June after noticing an uptick in rail incidents and found "dozens of safety violations" that needed to be fixed immediately, the official said. The commuter rail agency was fined as a result of the audit, the official said, adding that federal agencies are continuing to work with the railroad to ensure compliance with federal rail safety guidelines.

There were 25 accidents in 2015 and 10 in the first seven months of 2016, but none caused injuries or death, federal data showed. Most of the incidents occurred at low speeds and more than half were in train yards.

On Thursday, a commuter train smashed through a steel-and-concrete bumper and hurtled into the station's waiting area, killing a woman on the platform and injuring more than 100 other people.

The train's engineer, Thomas Gallagher, who was among those injured in the crash, has been interviewed by the National Transportation Safety Board, officials said, but the agency provided no further details about the interview in a news release Saturday. The NTSB also retrieved an event recorder from the locomotive at the rear of the train and investigators are waiting to download speed and braking information it contains.