(Adds report of Federal Railroad Administration investigation)
By Richard Leong
NEW YORK Oct 2 The engineer of the New Jersey
commuter train that crashed on Thursday told investigators he
was fully rested but has no memory of the incident, and a
recovered data recorder was not working, a National
Transportation Safety Board official said on Sunday.
The derailed train at a Hoboken station killed a 34-year-old
woman on the platform and injured 108 people during the morning
rush hour. The terminal has some 60,000 people pass on a typical
NTSB Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr told a news conference
that the agency was still in the "fact-gathering phase of the
New Jersey Transit said on Sunday that all rail service into
and out of the Hoboken terminal remained suspended.
Thomas Gallagher, a 29-year New Jersey Transit veteran who
was injured when the train derailed, told investigators the
train was running at 10 miles an hour when it was approaching
the station, Dinh-Zarr said.
Investigators at this time could not ascertain the speed of
the train when it was near the station.
When interviewed by investigators, Gallagher said he
conducted various procedures, including checking the train's
speedometer, and put his cellphone away during the trip.
He also said he had no memory of the accident.
The train's conductor, meanwhile, told investigators he
"didn't recall anything unusual" before the crash, Dinh-Zarr
One of the data recorders recovered was not working, but
there is another one which is newer, Dinh-Zarr said.
"We are hopeful it would be working," she said.
While waiting for possible information from the second data
recorder and a full review of available videos, investigators
could not verify what steps Gallagher may have taken to slow or
stop the train before the crash, according to Dinh-Zarr.
The NTSB official reiterated the agency found nothing on the
track that would have affected the train's performance.
Recovery of evidence has been slowed due to damage to the
station's columns, leaving the facility unstable. Environmental
and structural problems have delayed the extraction of the
second data recorder and forward-facing video recorder that
could help investigators understand the causes of the crash.
The Federal Railroad Administration had begun an
investigation into New Jersey Transit's safety practices prior
to Thursday's crash, the New York Times reported on Saturday,
citing an official who it said had been briefed on the
investigation but was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
An initial safety audit was completed in June, the newspaper
The FRA and New Jersey Transit did not immediately respond
to requests for comment on the New York Times report.
(Additional reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn
and Nick Zieminski)