February 11, 1996 in Nation/World

Investigators Probe Train Collision Data

Associated Press

Investigators studied trackside signals and the instruments and parts from two wrecked commuter trains Saturday to determine the cause of a collision that killed three people.

An eastbound New Jersey Transit train with 650 passengers collided at a junction during the Friday morning rush hour with a 100-passenger Transit train headed west. The wreck injured 162 people.

Officials said the westbound train had the right of way and the other train should have been stopped by a signal.

A corner of the westbound train’s 140-ton diesel locomotive smashed into a corner of the passenger car at the head of the eastbound train, shearing off part of the side of the car and throwing it and three other 45-ton cars off the tracks.

Investigators had not ruled out any causes for the collision, said J.S. Dunn, a chief investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

“We’re looking at the overall operation. We’ll be looking at the speed tapes today, we’re looking at the brake systems. The signal people are out here looking at the signals. We have crash worthiness and survival factors people going through the vehicles,” Dunn said.

Data recorders from the two trains had been sent to NTSB laboratories in Washington, officials said. Bulbs from signal lights were removed and were being studied to see if they were working. Brake systems were to be closely inspected.

The data recorders will show when the brakes were applied and how fast the trains were traveling when the accident happened.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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