(Updates with NTSB interview of engineer complete, report of
Federal Railroad Administration investigation)
By Dion Rabouin
NEW YORK Oct 1 Investigators on Saturday
interviewed the engineer of a New Jersey commuter train that
smashed into a Hoboken station this week, killing one person and
injuring 108, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a
The NTSB said it would not immediately release anything
investigators heard from the 29-year veteran of the railway, who
was also injured in the Thursday morning crash that left a
34-year-old woman on the platform dead and toppled support
columns in the 1907 building, a major transit point for New York
Investigators had not previously been able to interview the
driver, Thomas Gallagher, because of his injuries. Gallagher
could not be reached for comment.
The NTSB in a statement also noted that it had completed an
inspection of the tracks and found nothing that would have
affected the train's performance.
The damage to the columns has left the station unstable, and
the agency said that environmental and structural issues have
delayed the extraction of a data recorder and forward-facing
video recorder that could help investigators understand the
causes of the crash.
"We know where it is; it's just a matter of getting to it
and that's kind of what today's site safety meeting was about,"
NTSB spokesman Christopher O'Neil said in a telephone interview.
"Until the debris removal process starts we're not going to be
able to access that lead car to get that other event recorder."
The agency has obtained video from other trains that had
been at the Hoboken Terminal, and will scan those for more
information on what it called an "accident event" in a Saturday
Another recorder was extracted from the train on Thursday
and sent to its manufacturer on Friday after investigators were
unable to download data off it.
The agency does not know when it will get the recorder back,
NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said by phone.
The black box data should help investigators determine the
precise speed of the train as it approached the terminal.
The Federal Railroad Administration had begun an
investigation into New Jersey Transit's safety practices prior
to Thursday's rush-hour 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.
Witnesses and officials said the New Jersey Transit train
came into the station too fast and never slowed, but it was
People who saw the crash described a scene of horror and
chaos as the train slammed through the barrier, jumped off the
tracks and skidded across the station concourse.
Train service remained suspended in and out of the Hoboken
terminal, through which some 60,000 people pass on a typical
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Scott Malone and Alden