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Train Crash in Hoboken

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I don't disagree. The question becomes, what caused the breaks to fail or not be applied? And, why couldn't the engineer "dumb" the train as could anyone who could pull the dumb valve (Emergency break lever)? If that failed (mechanically), then there are much deeper issues. And why did it fail right when entering Hoboken terminal, as opposed to somewhere else along the route?

Dump the train with the dump valve. Once you've entered the terminal most likely there are trains on either side, making it difficult for anyone other than the engineer to know exactly where in relation to the bumping block the train is. You could count coaches as you come in, but that's difficult unless you know how many coaches are on the adjacent track.

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Update:  Fox & Friends reports this morning  that they have recovered the 2nd data recorder, the engineer's cell phone, and the video footage from the front facing cockpit cam and, hopefully, some clarity on the situation.

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Update: Fox & Friends reports this morning that they have recovered the 2nd data recorder, the engineer's cell phone, and the video footage from the front facing cockpit cam and, hopefully, some clarity on the situation.

As well as footage from other cameras that may have caught the train entering the station. I'm curious to what they'll find.

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If that train was traveling between 20-30 mph as it was entering the Hoboken Terminal train shed then that really points back to the actions of the Engineer and possible voluntary or involuntary actions and/or human error.  He was quoted as saying that the train was only traveling at 10 mph and that he has no further memory until he woke up on the floor after the crash...

 

AVB-AMG

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They're saying it was speed. Limit was 10mph and they're suspecting the train was going 20-30.

 

 

If that train was traveling between 20-30 mph as it was entering the Hoboken Terminal train shed then that really points back to the actions of the Engineer and possible voluntary or involuntary actions and/or human error.  He was quoted as saying that the train was only traveling at 10 mph and that he has no further memory until he woke up on the floor after the crash...

 

AVB-AMG

 

Hopefully, the 2nd data recorder will tell the tale, as may the other video footage.    I also heard the engineer state he entered the station track at 10mph.   We'll see.  I'd like to know what the speed limit is for traveling through the main switch/interlocking in Hoboken terminal, leading up to the platform tracks.  If he were speeding on that, I would gather that he might have had some switch problems and risked jumping tracks or junctions within the interlocking. That thing is massive...plenty of chances to derail if traveling too fast.  So, he was going slow enough to not have any problems there. It will also be interesting to see whether or not his cell phone was active during that time (i.e. making/receiving a call).

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If that train was traveling between 20-30 mph as it was entering the Hoboken Terminal train shed then that really points back to the actions of the Engineer and possible voluntary or involuntary actions and/or human error.  He was quoted as saying that the train was only traveling at 10 mph and that he has no further memory until he woke up on the floor after the crash...

 

AVB-AMG

 

I'm hearing more about people with Atrial Fibrillation blacking out.  My wife's uncle rear-ended a car and remembers nothing about the crash other than a weird feeling in his chest just before.  The conclusion was he most likely passed out during an AFib event.

 

Lots of reasons people could pass out but this is one condition people are sometimes unaware of until it's bad.  Or a doctor asks the right questions and they have some tests performed.

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I'm hearing more about people with Atrial Fibrillation blacking out.  My wife's uncle rear-ended a car and remembers nothing about the crash other than a weird feeling in his chest just before.  The conclusion was he most likely passed out during an AFib event.

 

Lots of reasons people could pass out but this is one condition people are sometimes unaware of until it's bad.  Or a doctor asks the right questions and they have some tests performed.

 

Well, if that's the case, then this engineer's career is over.  Probably is anyway, but if he were, somehow, cleared of any wrong doing, he'd be subject to medical reviews, etc. I doubt he'll get his ticket back.

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Update:  AP is now tweeting that investigators state the train was doing "twice the speed limit before the crash, " and the engineer hit the breaks "just before impact."

 

Now, they don't say "where" in the interlock the train was doing "twice the limit," but I gather they're implying that it was as it entered the platform track area (10mph). So it was doing 20mph there?

 

If they got this from the 2nd data recorder, then it does not bode well for the engineer. 

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It is strange, NJ Transit is being very hush hush with clean up. Police keep shooing away the media, and the FAA declared it a no fly zone after CBS was overhead.

I'd not seen a temporary flight restriction over Hoboken-there isn't one there as of today-but it is common to see them over newsworthy disaster sites anywhere. For exactly the reason you mention-fear of news helicopters colliding overhead.

 

The train station is already under some very restricted airspace due to its proximity to Newark airport, but choppers could operate over the river.

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Doesn't take much reading between the lines to know something is up

 

http://nj1015.com/are-nj-transit-engineers-properly-trained-we-tried-asking/

 

 

Could go either way - maybe the engineer training is comprehensive and adequate and they have nothing to hide;  there is little benefit and plenty of potential downfall to NJ Transit making public statements about their training regimen while an active NTSB investigation and a platoon of lawyers are circling.

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Update:  According to Fox news, they have re-opened a few more tracks, and have resumed "full service," although there are still repairs being made to the terminal.  One new policy, apparently, is that there is a new speed limit of 5mph when entering the terminal track area.  Not sure if that will accomplish much if we don't know yet what caused the train to accelerate from 8mph to 21mph.  They should figure that out, first.

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At this point, speculation is centering on human error on the Engineer's part.  Maybe he had some form of medical condition or issue that involuntarily caused him to trigger the train's acceleration, without consciously knowing that he was doing it.  I do not know, but maybe it could be something like his blacking out caused by Atrial Fibrillation, as Kevin125 speculated or something similar.  Hopefully, the analysis of the medical, (physical and psychological), tests that have been and are continuing to be performed on the Engineer, will lead to revealing the actual cause.

 

AVB-AMG

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At this point, speculation is centering on human error on the Engineer's part.  Maybe he had some form of medical condition or issue that involuntarily caused him to trigger the train's acceleration, without consciously knowing that he was doing it.  I do not know, but maybe it could be something like his blacking out caused by Atrial Fibrillation, as Kevin125 speculated or something similar.  Hopefully, the analysis of the medical, (physical and psychological), tests that have been and are continuing to be performed on the Engineer, will lead to revealing the actual cause.

 

AVB-AMG

 

I can't see how it could happen any other way. The only way to accelerate (other than mechanical failure) is for the throttle to be pulled.  How it happened will be the true mystery to be solved.

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Update:  AP just tweeted the following: 

 

 

Two U.S. officials say the engineer of a commuter train that slammed into a New Jersey station at double the 10 mph speed limit, killing a woman, suffered from undiagnosed sleep apnea.

One of the officials says investigators are looking at it as a potential cause.

 

The officials were briefed on the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter. They told the AP on Wednesday that 48-year-old Thomas Gallagher was diagnosed with the condition after the Sept. 29 crash in Hoboken. The National Transportation Safety Board said it wasn't able to confirm specifics of the engineer's health.

 

Gallagher told investigators he had no memory of the crash and remembered waking up on the floor.A union representing Gallagher didn't immediately respond to a message.

 

Something tells me this engineer has definitely taken his last ride.   

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There are no definitive ways to diagnose OSA short of a sleep study.  While they may give you a verbal Q and A test, only a sleep study can determine it.  The real culprit along these lines are their dumb scheduling of engineers with split shifts creating long waking hours.  Schedules for 8 hours work split over 14 or more hours sucks.  Your on duty for the last runs of the night, then stuck on the end of the line for 4 or more hours waiting to be the first train in in the AM. Not going anywhere, stuck on the train and try to get some rest.  Good luck with that.  That's just trouble waiting to happen, oh, it did!

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