Train 1614, with a Comet V cab car on the head end, departed from Spring Valley at 7:23 AM and was due to arrive in Hoboken at 8:38 AM. The cab car came to a halt between the terminal’s indoor waiting area and the end of the platform. A metal and glass train shed collapsed. Most of the injuries occurred in the lead car or to people struck by collapsing debris inside the station. Many people were trapped on the train or in the debris. The single fatality was a woman in her 30s who was on the platform.
NJT is in the process of installing PTC system-wide, but does not currently have plans to install it within Hoboken Terminal’s massive and complex interlocking plant. NJT applied for and received from the FRA what is known as a “Main Line Track Exclusion Addendum” (MTEA) to its PTC Implementation Plan (PTCIP) for Hoboken Terminal, where the existing ATC (Automatic Train Control, cab signal with speed control) system enforces an MAS (maximum authorized speed) of 20 mph. PTC would have provided a zero-speed target for the end of the platform, and would have automatically made a penalty brake application if it calculated and determined that the train’s 20 mph-to-0 mph braking curve was insufficient to stop the train just short of the end-of-platform bumping block. ATC does not calculate and enforce braking curves.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials said on Sunday one data recorder recovered so far from the New Jersey Transit commuter train that crashed in Hoboken, killing one and injuring more than 100, was not functioning on the day of the accident.
The locomotive’s recorder has information on train speed. NTSB vice chair T Bella Dinh-Zarr said at a Sunday news conference she was hopeful the data recorder in the cab control car in the front of the train was functional. That has yet to be recovered from the crash site.