A Long Island Railroad commuter train crashed into a bumper block and partially derailed Wednesday morning inside Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal, injuring at least 103 people.
New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is investigating the derailment and has not determined a cause, but there was early speculation that the locomotive engineer may have been responsible.
The commuter train originated from the Far Rockaway station in Queens and was packed with about 700 commuters, most of whom were reportedly standing as the train pulled into Atlantic Station, its final stop.
Passengers reported people were thrown about the train as it came to an abrupt stop. The first two train cars jumped the tracks and a section of rail pierced the bottom of the front car. None of the passengers suffered life-threatening injuries. The most serious injury reported was a broken leg.
MTA President Thomas F. Prendergast told the New York Times that “at that speed, it’s pretty much the locomotive engineer’s responsibility to stop the train.”
Another source familiar with the railroad’s operations told NPR that that “trains pulling into the station do automatically slow down but it is up to the conductor to hit the brake finally for the train to stop,” adding that “it appears that didn’t happen” in Wednesday’s derailment.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator Jim Southworth said it would take up to a week to complete an investigation of the accident scene and determine a possible cause. Mr. Southworth said the train’s event recorders have been recovered and the train’s engineer has undergone drug testing. The results of the drug test haven’t been determined.