Amtrak Train Derails at Penn Station, Collides with NJ Transit TrainMar 27, 2017
Penn Station Train Derailment is Latest in Series of Train Accidents
Another train accident has occurred in the New York area. On the morning of Mar. 24, 2017, an Amtrak train derailed while leaving Penn station and collided with a NJ Transit train. The train crash occurred during the morning rush hour, and caused a difficult commute for riders later in the evening. The incident is the latest in a series of train accidents.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits involving accidents. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a train accident lawsuit.
According to CBS New York, the train accident occurred at around 9 a.m., when Acela Express Train 2151 from Boston came off the tracks as it began to depart from Penn station. The train was headed to Washington, D.C. Amtrak says the train experienced "a minor derailment while moving at a slow speed," according to CBS.
Reportedly, the Amtrak train sideswiped a NJ Transit train when the wheel of the Amtrak slipped off the tracks. This caused the space between the trains to change.
"We were just pulling into the station, not going very fast and I guess another train that was leaving hit us really hard and it basically sideswiped us," one rider said to 1010 WINS.
Another passenger described the impact as "pretty freaky", stating "I was looking at my phone and I felt a giant explosion next to my head, and my window caved in,"
"Thankfully, it didn't hit my head."
"In the millisecond after that, this other train departing Penn Station raked the side of our train, popping in all the windows and knocking doors ajar and ripping metal off our car," he said, according to CBS.
The Amtrak train was reportedly carrying 248 passengers at the time of the accident. Three patients experienced minor injuries, according to the Office of Emergency Management. When the train derailed, it was close enough to the train platform and passengers were able to exit the locomotive safely, Amtrak said.
Evening riders were left with a cumbersome commute later that day. LIRR reduced its departures in Penn Station by more than 50 percent. In total, LIRR said it canceled 29 evening rush-hour trains.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the accident. "Right now the question mark is about why did it derail - especially in Penn Station?" said City College of New York civil engineering professor Robert "Buzz" Paaswell to CBS.
"There could have been something wrong with the wheels on the train that maintenance didn't catch," said Paaswell, "or maybe something happened to an axle, or a wheel might have gotten loose - these are all very tentative."
Another train derailed on Mar. 7, 2017 in Newburgh, New York. A CSX freight train came off the tracks when it hit an equipment loader stuck on the tracks. The incident occurred near the office of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who commented "While we don't yet know why the train derailed, we do know that outdated train cars barreling down the Hudson River carrying hazardous materials are literally a train wreck waiting to happen," according to NBC.
"We have to get smarter about how we transport crude oil, and invest in installing positive train control on all our trains,"
Another CSX train was involved in a deadly train crash that same day in Biloxi, Mississippi. According to NBC, four people died and another 40 were injured when the locomotive collided with a charter bus stuck on the tracks.
Other Train Accidents: LIRR Train Derailment, Deadly NJ Transit Train Crash
Parker Waichman comments that other train accidents have occurred in the New York area, leading to a number of injuries and one death.
On Jan. 4, 2017, a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train derailed at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, injuring more than 100 people. Luckily, most of the injuries were reportedly minor. Newsday reports that the first car derailed when the train went through the bump block at the end of the track.
FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Dan Donoghue said when the train came off the tracks, it crashed into "a small room in the area that was at the end of the track,"
"I don't believe anyone was in that room, and if they were, they must have got out quick, because that room sustained quite a bit of damage,"
The derailment followed another LIRR train accident that occurred in New Hyde Park Station in October 2016. More than 26 people were hurt when an LIRR train collided with a work train.
In September 2016, a New Jersey Transit Train crashed into a Hoboken station, killing one person and injuring over 100 more. A subsequent investigation determined that the train engineer suffered from undiagnosed sleep apnea, a condition where patients stop breathing multiple times in their sleep. The loss of oxygen throughout the night can impair sleep quality and impede on a person's daily functioning. The consequences of this can be serious if the individual needs to operate a vehicle or other heavy machinery.
LIRR now tests its train engineers for sleep apnea.
Positive Train Control (PTC) and Train Safety
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is working on installing positive train control (PTC) on LIRR and Metro-North Trains. PTC is a form of safety technology that uses GPS, wireless radio, and other technologies that automatically slow down a train that is moving too quickly. It is also used to prevent train collisions.
The Federal Railroad Administration granted the MTA a $1 billion loan to install PTC. The agency is working to meet a 2018 deadline.
The U.S. Safety Improvement Act of 2008 ordered railroads to implement PTC after 25 people died in a Los Angeles train crash. The fatal collision occurred when a commuter train hit a freight train. Initially, PTC was supposed to be installed by December 2015. However, the deadline was pushed back to December 2018 due to the slow implementation.
Legal Help for Train Accident Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing train accident and other accident victims. If you or someone you know was injured in a train accident, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).