Long Island Railroad Train Accident (LIRR): More than 100 people were hurt Wednesday when a Long Island Rail Road train hit a bumping block at the end of a track at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, which happened around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday as the Far Rockaway train was pulling into the terminal on Track 6.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Tom Prendergast said the train went up and over the bumping block. It then crashed into an employee area on the platform. Fire officials also said a piece of the rail pierced the bottom of the train.
“Obviously, the train is supposed to stop short of the bumping block,” Prednergast said. “It did not do that, so it’s one of things we will look at as part of investigation.”
Transit officials said the lead wheel assembly and one other axle derailed as a result of the impact.
Following the crash, the front train car was left with broken windows and a bent metal door, while elsewhere in the terminal, the bumping block was destroyed and a room for employees at the end of the track was crushed, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the train was moving slowly and added that it “wasn’t really a derailment.”
“The train hit the bumping block and when it hit the bumping block, the bumping block basically knocked it off the tracks,” he said.
A bumper at the end of the line is supposed to stay untouched, and the train is supposed to stop well before it.
The governor said authorities don’t yet know why the engineer failed to stop.
“What happened with the operator, we don’t know and obviously there will be an investigation to find out exactly what happened and why the operator didn’t stop the train before it hit the bumping block,” he said.
Prendergast said the train’s engineer and conductors will be interviewed by investigators.
“There is signal system that controls it going in, but once you get to the end, it’s the locomotive engineer’s responsibility and the train’s brakes have to work,” he said. “All of that will be looked at in the investigation.”
There were 430 passengers on board the train at the time of the crash. The FDNY said 103 people suffered non-life threatening injuries.
At the scene, people were seen nursing bumps, bruises and bloody noses. Some people were carried away on stretchers while others were loaded onto FDNY buses.
Some described a large jolt that sent people flying.
“It was no warning of any sort,” said passenger David Feit. “It just ran through the end of the line.”
The sudden jolt came as most passengers were on their feet to exit the morning train when it violently overshot its stop.
“I was getting up from my seat and there was a loud impact and I flew forward and then flew backward,” a passenger named Amanda told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “It was total chaos, there was smoke on the train and you know, we were just like sitting there in shock.”
“We were pulling into the station in what appeared to be its regular speed and suddenly there was a jolt and a jump up. I was sitting at the time, jumped out of my seat and then back down and up again,” Feit told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.
“It was a sudden impact,” another passenger told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “We were just seconds away from stopping. How could we crash coming into the station when we’re just seconds away from stopping?”
Emergency service officials said many people were able to get off the train on their own, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported. Cuomo said the most serious injury was a possible broken leg.
“A broken leg is not good, but we’ve been through situations where we’ve had worse,” he said.
One of the fire chiefs who aided the victims told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond they were fortunate the injuries weren’t more severe.
On the Hempstead Line during the evening rush, the train was crowded despite the Wednesday morning incident. Five of the six tracks were up and running during the Wednesday evening rush.
Commuters said they had no choice but to take the LIRR and take everything in stride, CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported.
Commuters said overall, they felt safe. But they were looking for answers, and hoped the LIRR would take the proper steps to ensure such an incident does not happen again.
“I still feel safe on the trains, but obviously, it’s something that, because I never think about something like that happening to me, but it’s a little bit scary, of course,” said Clifford Hartnett of Floral Park.
Given reports that the engineer did not stop upon pulling into the terminal, Hartnett added, “I think obviously, he should be paying attention and there should be some more controls in place, but I never thought about it before, and obviously, it’s a little bit worrisome.
Trains were leaving on time from Penn Station, and it did not appear that there were any residual delays from the derailment.
This Wednesday derailment comes at the heels of other recent train derailments and crashes in the Tri-State area over the last several months.
This also was not the only time an LIRR train has derailed at the terminal. In September 1996, when the station was known as the Flatbush Avenue Terminal, a train – also from Far Rockaway – overshot the end of the tracks.
That train also slammed into the bumper block and front-landed on the platform. The crash happened at 4 a.m., with few people on board.
The conductor and a passenger were injured in the 1996 crash.
Original story from CBS New York found here.
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